Credit: Washington University in St. Louis; Goddard Space Flight Center; California Institute of Technology; Jet Propulsion Lab; the University of Minnesota
A Super-TIGER on the Prowl
The Universe itself hosts enormous particle accelerators, far more powerful than the earth's Large Hadron Collider. These accelerators operate in the deep vastness of space, firing dangerous atomic nuclei through the Milky Way. Although these fast-moving particles, or cosmic rays, have been known for more than a century, what produces them is still a mystery. Hoping to unravel this mystery is Super-TIGER, the Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder experiment. Super-TiGER, an even more powerful version of the TIGER experiment, is currently flying high above Antarctica, carried aloft by an ultra-long duration balloon, shown above on its launch day. Super-TIGER is designed to study the heavy atomic nuclei component of the cosmic rays that enter earth's upper atmosphere. Super-TIGER will measure the abundances of these individual heavy elements to test if winds or explosions of massive stars in our Galaxy provide most of the power to accelerate these nuclei.
Published: January 7, 2012
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 07-Jan-2013 07:02:22 EST