Welcome to TARA

The Telescope Array RADAR Project

TARA antennas in the field

The TARA project works in conjunction with the Telescope Array observatory in Millard County, Utah, towards the goal of detecting cosmic rays using radar technology. TARA researchers use a modified television transmitter, donated by local television stations, as a source of radio waves. These waves are scattered by the atmospheric ionization produced by a cosmic ray and collected many kilometers away by digital radio receivers. One day this technique may be used to cover thousands of square kilometers of the Earth's surface at a fraction of the cost of a “conventional” cosmic ray observatory.


TARA Receives $1M Grant from W.M. Keck Foundation

September 25, 2012: TARA investigators, on behalf of the University of Utah, have received a $1,000,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to create "A Radar Observatory for the Universe's Most Energetic Particles". Construction has already begun on the new W.M. Keck Radar Observatory in Millard County, Utah.

Read the full story here,
and read the project abstract here.

FCC License Awarded

December 15, 2011: The TARA project has received a new experimental broadcast license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This license will enable us to increase our output power at 54.1 MHz to 40 kiloWatts and our Effective Radiated Power (ERP) to 6 MegaWatts, substantially enhancing our search for a radar echo signal.

Construction of the new transmitter will begin early in 2012, and broadcasts as station WF2XZZ should commence by late spring.

Click here to view our license.

MRI Grant Awarded

October 1, 2011: The TARA project has received a $400,000 Major Research Instrumentation award from the National Science Foundation. This award will be matched by $171,000 from the Universities of Utah and Kansas.

The NSF MRI grant was given "to develop the world's first bistatic radar observatory for the highest-energy cosmic rays". These new funds will enable the TARA project to commission a 40 kW television transmitter - donated by Salt Lake TV stations KUTV and ABC4 - at the Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory site in Millard County, Utah. Funds are also being used to develop a matched filter "smart" triggering system for the receiver stations by project electrical engineers and physicists.

The award supplements approximately $319,000 in existing NSF funding, which has been used in pilot studies and in the deployment of a 2 kW transmitter, log-periodic receiver antennas, and software-defined radio receivers at the Telescope Array site.

TARA is funded by the National Science Foundation and the W.M. Keck Foundation