International cosmic ray studies unfold in Utah’s high, dry desert

Ben Stokes, University of Utah

In this time-lapse photo, stars appear to rotate above the Middle Drum facility of the Telescope Array, a $25 million cosmic ray observatory that sprawls across the desert west of Delta. Physicists from the University of Utah, University of Tokyo and elsewhere report the observatory has detected a “hot spot” in the northern sky emitting a disproportionate number of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, which are the most energetic particles in the universe. The discovery of a hot spot is a step in the long quest to discover the source or sources of the most powerful cosmic rays.

SALT LAKE CITY — An international team of researchers are using hundreds of sophisticated devices in the high, dry desert in Millard County, hoping to learn more about the universe and specifically the formation of cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles that travel at nearly the speed of light and hit the Earth from all directions, but finding the source of these particles has proven to be elusive.

Those involved in the Telescope Array Cosmic Ray Project say they’re getting closer, however, and they want to expand the project’s size to confirm the location of a “hot spot” that may be the possible origin of the highest energy cosmic rays.

Since the project occupies primarily land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency is hosting a pair of public open houses to explain the proposed expansion and identify issues for an upcoming environmental analysis.

Open houses will run 4-7 p.m. Wednesday at the Millard School District’s board room, 285 E. 450 North, Delta, and Thursday at Juab…

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