Cosmic Ray Detector

Cosmic Rays are high energy particles that travel near the speed of light. Cosmic rays originate from outer space, often times from outside of our solar system. Those that are produced from our sun are called cosmic rays, however those that come from outside of our solar system are referred to as galactic cosmic rays. When a cosmic ray collides with a particle in our atmosphere, it creates a cosmic ray shower, which consist of x-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and neutrons. We detect these cosmic ray showers using our cosmic ray detector. Inside our cosmic ray detector are 4 scintillators paired with 4 photomultipliers. Every time a cosmic ray travels through a scintillator, it emits a light in the photomultiplier that lasts only nanoseconds long. These flashes are converted into a current to be recorded. Currently, I have just finished plateauing the detector and am now working on an experiment regarding the half life of a muon.


We decided to abandon the software and manually count using a stopwatch and the counter on the motherboard. We took data for 5 minutes and found that the CRD plateaued at .85v. This voltage will be used for future experiments to ensure that the CRD is recording the most amount of cosmic rays as it can.