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Cosmic Ray Detectors

Physics Project

Shireen Fathi

on 10 June 2011

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Transcript of Cosmic Ray Detectors

COSMIC RAY DETECTORS A COSMIC RAY IS... by Shireen, Lizzie, and Kaity Highly accelerated particles found in space
Emitted by sources like the sun, supernovas, blackholes, etc. Supernova! Directed by magnetic forces in space
The term 'ray' is more historical than accurate as cosmic rays are thought to be electromagnetic waves THE PROJECT To work with cosmic rays,
we made a cloud chamber! WATCH! LOOK! MIST! WHAT IS HAPPENING... The mist forms as a result of the alcohol evaporating as it is warmed by the hand's heat and then condensing from the air that is cooled by the dry ice. The mist should stay for about five minutes.... and now....we wait.... now, a bunch of "threads" should appear about an inch above the lid... Watch what happens when we bring the magnet near the jar! As the magnet is brought near the jar, the threads deflect towards it! What does this show? When muons pass through the chamber, they form ionization tracks, which is where the condensed droplets collect
Muons are unharmful high-energy particle radiation that fly through space almost at the speed of light!
Every few minutes, trillions of these particles are formed at the edge of the Earth's atmosphere
Every second, three to six of these particles pass through each square inch of the Earth's atmosphere
This means that cosmic rays are currently flying right through you! How does this happen in the jar? The hand on the bottom of the jar heats it, while the dry ice on the top cools it
In between these temperatures (~1-2 inches from the bottom of the jar), the air becomes saturated with the alcohol vapor
Muons produced by cosmic rays then pass through this, causing the alcohol to condense, which then creates the threads that we saw
The magnet was able to bend the paths towards it because the cosmic radiation is electrically charged Muons (µ) Most muons are formed by cosmic rays within the Earth's atmosphere
They are small, light, negatively charged, and highly energetic. They have a very fast decay rate
Muons travel at .998c and can come down to earth from a height of 10 km above the earth's surface c = speed of light
v = speed of the muon which is 0.998c
t0 = lifetime of muon at rest which is 2.2 x 10-6 s Doing the math results in t being ~15.8 times t0, meaning that the muon can travel 16 times farther than it seems to (10km instead of the 657m that we expect them to travel)
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