On March 13, 2014, Romania was officially accepted as a full member state in the “Pierre Auger Observatory” international collaboration. Spread over an area of 3000 km2 in Argentina, Auger is the largest cosmic radiation experiment in the world. The collaboration allows the Romanian researchers to contribute to discerning the mysteries of ultra-high energies cosmic rays.
Romania was an Auger “associated” country for three years (since 2011), through the sponsoring of the German “Karlsruhe Institute of Technology”. Romania is represented in the Auger international collaboration at the institutional level by the Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering “Horia Hulubei”, by the Institute of Space Science (ISS), by the University of Bucharest and by the Politehnica University of Bucharest. By becoming a full member of the Auger collaboration, Romania has equal rights with other 17 Member States (including voting rights).
“The Pierre Auger Collaboration welcoms Romania as a full member state. The skills of the Romanian contributors will add value”, says Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Kampert, Pierre Auger Observatory’s spokeman, from the University of Wuppertal, Germany.
Discovered 100 years ago, the ultra-high energies cosmic rays remain a mystery to scientists. These continuously bombard the Earth, enter the earth’s atmosphere where interact with air molecules or particles and give birth to secondary particles falls, which end to the ground. A such event is expected to happen from once a year to once per century for each square kilometer, which makes the study of ultra-high energies cosmic rays very complex.
The Pierre Auger Collaboration aims to reveal the mystery of ultra-high energies cosmic rays sources, involving together scientists from across the globe and using complementary detection techniques, extended on very large areas. Auger combines observations made using 1660 water tanks, 27 optical telescopes and 160 radio antennas, all of these detectors spanning an area 10 times greater than that of Bucharest.
Pierre Auger Observatory interviews © ISS / Gina Isar
“Through the generosity of Nature, the Universe can be observed directly from space, or indirectly by cosmic messengers received on land, air, water, ice or salt mines. The study of the galactic origin astroparticles, meaning inside of our galaxy, the Milky Way, or extragalactic, opens a new window in observing the cosmic bodies and phenomena located to thousand light years away from Earth”, said Dr. Paula Gina Isar, ISS‘s institutional representative at the Auger collaboration.
Pierre Auger Observatory © Steven Saffi
The Institute of Space Science (ISS), located in Magurele, Romania, develops research projects in various fields, like astroparticle physics, high energy physics, astrophysics and cosmology, space plasma physics and applied research, design and development of space technology activities. ISS has been involved in collaborations and partnerships nationally and internationally renowned (CERN-ALICE, ANTARES, KM3NeT, Pierre Auger Observatory), in ESA space program through missions such as Euclid, Planck, Cluster and has collaborated with NASA at the first Romanian experiment sent on the International Space Station.
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