The Pierre Auger Observatory and interdisciplinary science
Colorado School of Mines, Colorado, USA
2 Observatorio Pierre Auger, Av. San Martín Norte 304, 5613, Malargüe, Argentina
Accepted: 27 July 2012
Published online: 29 August 2012
The Pierre Auger Observatory is the world’s largest facility that measures the highest energy particles known to exist. The observatory uses the earth’s atmosphere as a giant calorimeter to study astrophysics and particle physics accessible through high-energy cosmic rays. The observatory’s complementary detector systems extend across 3000 km2 on the western edge of the Argentine Pampas. However, the array of 1660 charged-particle detectors, sensitive optical detectors supported by extensive atmospheric monitoring, and an active R&D effort also present opportunities to investigate phenomena in the atmospheric and earth sciences. Examples include the development of atmospheric measurement techniques, observations of variations in solar activity through Forbush effects, high-speed measurements of atmospheric “elves”, and the detection of an earthquake. In this paper the observatory is introduced from an interdisciplinary science perspective.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012