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Press Reviews

On the trail of Cosmic Bullets - Symmetry - Oct/Nov 2007

By Kurt Riesselmann

Argentina’s Pampa Amarilla is a rather remote place, a dry plain stretching thousands of miles against the spectacular backdrop of the rugged, snowcapped peaks of the Andes. Like every other place on Earth, the yellow pampa is bathed in a constant shower of cosmic rays—protons and atomic nuclei that fly through the universe at close to the speed of light. While some are known to come from the sun, most take a meandering path that gives no clue to where they came from. Once in a while, an unusually powerful cosmic ray strikes the Earth’s atmosphere with almost as much energy as a bullet. Fortunately, such a projectile is no danger to human life. Entering the atmosphere, it loses energy and creates showers of lower-energy particles, which can spread across more than 15 square miles by the time they hit ground.

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Pierre Auger Observatory shares cosmic-ray data with public, students - 3 July 2007

The Pierre Auger Collaboration has begun the public release of one percent of the cosmic-ray events recorded by the Observatory in Argentina. New cosmic-ray data—about 70 events per day—will be posted on a daily basis.

The one-percent release is part of the worldwide Pierre Auger education and outreach program. It will allow teachers to expose students to real scientific data and the breathtaking processes that take place in the cosmos, hurling charged particles toward Earth. Data are provided both as graphical displays and in tabular form. For each cosmic-ray air shower, the Web sites show the energy and direction of the incoming cosmic-ray particle. The public data provides information on cosmic-rays with extremely high energy, up to 5 x 1019 electron volts (eV).

The data and their visualizations are available by clicking on the Event Display link in the Navigation Bar on the right, or by going to Observatorio Pierre Auger Sur.

The full text of the Press Release is found at

Sur La Piste Des Rayons Cosmiques Dans La Pampa Argentine - Science et Vie - 2006

Quelle est l’origine des rayons cosmiques? C’est pour résoudre cette énigme que des chercheurs ont investi la pampa argentine. Là, ils ont installé le plus grand détecteur du monde qui, jour et nuit, traque les flux de particules venues du cosmos.Une quête dont les physiciens espèrent beaucoup.

perte de vue, de minuscules fleurs jaunes tapissent le sol sablonneux et irrégulier de la Pampa Amarilla. Pas un arbre, une colline ou une maison alentour. Seule la Cordillère des Andes se détache au loin de l’immensité plane, écrasée par le soleil, de cette région du centre de l’Argentine. Cahotante et poussiéreuse, la route de terre qui relie Malargüe, la ville la plus proche avec ses 23 000 habitants, à cinq heures du premier aéroport, celui de Mendoza, semble interminable. Quand soudain, à quelques mètres du chemin, apparaît une cuve cylindrique en plastique ocre pâle. A peine moins haute qu’un homme, elle est surmontée d’antennes hertzienne et GPS et d’un panneau solaire. Les vaches ne semblent pas s’en formaliser, pas plus que les oiseaux : à l’ombre du panneau solaire, ces derniers ont installé leur nid...

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