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Innovative research uses remote radio telescope to detect cosmic rays

Curtin University researchers have developed a particle detector at the remote site of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope that is capable of conducting a ground-breaking study into mysterious cosmic rays in the area’s harsh conditions.

The project is the first coupling of a particle detector with the MWA, located in Western Australia’s Mid-West region about 800km north of Perth, and will allow the researchers to study some of the most powerful and violent forces in the universe.

Project leader Dr Clancy James, from the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, said the project would study the origins and properties of cosmic rays, which are particles with potentially more than 10 million times the energy produced by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider.

“Cosmic rays constantly bombard Earth from space but we don’t know where they come from or what is accelerating the particles,” Dr James said.

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