Viewing the Observatory with Google Earth
This is the Los Leones fluorescence detector of the Auger Observatory, on a hill overlooking the ground array of surface detectors (one of which appears in the foreground). The Southern Pierre Auger Observatory covers an area over 3000 km2 in Mendoza province, Argentina, and aims to resolve the mystery of the origin of the highest energy particles in the Universe. Another such array is planned for deployment in the Northern hemisphere, in Colorado, USA. The project utilizes two techniques to detect these extremely rare particles. When they reach the Earth's atmosphere, they generate a cascade of billions of particles which can be detected when they strike the ground with an array of surface detectors. In addition, on dark nights the sky glow (known as nitrogen fluorescence) generated by the passage of these particles can be imaged with telescopes located on the boundary of the array. There are a total of four nitrogen fluorescence detectors with six telescopes each. This image shows the Los Leones detector, built on the summit of an extinct volcanic mound, or cerro.
For a detailed exploration of the Southern Observatory using the Google Earth program, please visit collaborator Stephane Coutu's website at Penn State University.