A cosmic-ray observatory is a scientific installation built to detect high-energy-particles coming from space called cosmic rays. This typically includes photons (high-energy light), electrons, protons, and some heavier nuclei, as well as antimatter particles. About 90% of cosmic rays are protons, 9% are alpha particles, and the rest are other particles
It is not yet possible to build image forming optics for cosmic rays, like a Wolter telescope for lower energy X-rays, although some cosmic-ray observatories also look for high energy gamma rays and x-rays. Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHEC) pose further detection problems. One way of learning about cosmic rays is using different detectors to observe aspects of a cosmic ray air shower.
Methods of detection for Gamma-rays.
- Scintillation Detectors
- Solid State Detectors
- Compton Scattering
- Pair Telescopes
- Air Cerenkov Detectors
For example, while a visible light photon may have an energy of a few eV, a cosmic gamma ray may exceed a TeV (1,000,000,000,000 eV). Sometimes cosmic gamma rays (photons) are not grouped with nuclei cosmic rays.
Famous quotes containing the word observatory:
“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)