KSL News recently ran a feature on the expansion of the Telescope Array and the search for Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays.
Reporters from KSL News traveled to Millard County, Utah, to talk to physicists from the Telescope Array project about the ongoing expansion. At the site, where new particle detectors were being flown to their final locations by helicopter, reporters interviewed project members about cosmic ray research and what the project hopes to achieve with its vastly increased area.
"We're going from 300 square miles to 1,200 square miles," said John Matthews, a research professor at the University of Utah and program manager of the Cosmic Ray Physics Group. Hopes are that with this increased footprint, the rate of detection for ultra-high energy cosmic rays will increase from around 100 over the past seven years to about 500 over a shorter period of time.
The segment also discussed the history of cosmic ray research in Utah, in particular, the Fly's Eye Telescope at Dugway Proving Ground that ran from 1981-1993. In October of 1991, The detector observed an air shower with an energy of 3.2x1020 eV, roughly 50 joules or the kinetic energy of a well-pitched baseball. After more than 25 years, this remains the highest energy particle ever recorded from any source.
With the Telescope Array's discovery of a "Cosmic Ray Hotspot" in 2014, the hunt is on to discover what cosmic force could be giving these particles such massive amounts of energy. By quadrupling the size of the current array of surface detectors, the scientists hope to narrow down this search even further.
The full feature can be seen below or found on KSL's website.