The Auger Observatory was designed to observe particle cascades produced by cosmic rays at energies above 1018 electron volts (eV). Now, the HEAT project detects cosmic rays with ten times lower energy (1017 eV), using telescopes similar to the Auger fluorescence telescopes, but observing the atmosphere at greater heights.
There are three fluorescence telescopes installed at Cerro Coihueco. They are mounted in separate containers that can be inclined at an angle of 60 degrees, so that the telescopes observe higher regions of the atmosphere. This enables detection of showers occurring in higher atmosphere, produced by lower energy cosmic rays. This study will advance the study of the composition of lower energy cosmic rays.
Cosmic rays of lower energies come from our own galaxy, the Milky Way, while the highest energies are probably extragalactic. Expanding the range of energies with HEAT and studying the composition of cosmic rays allow to deduce at what levels of energy the transition between galactic and extragalactic component occurs.
TheHEATproject is ledby Dr.HansKlages, University ofKarlsruhe(Germany).