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World's largest gamma-ray telescope to be built in Russia

Irkutsk, July 30, 2013 (Itar-tass) 23:00 IST
Astrophysicists from the Irkutsk State University here have begun the construction of the world's largest gamma-ray telescope Tunka-HiSCORE.

The telescope will be constructed in Tunka Valley in Buryatia, close to Russia's border with Mongolia.

"The telescope that has no analogues in the world will register ultrahigh energy particles coming from the universe," the University Press Service said.

The site will feature 10 optical stations and 20 stations to register charged particles, it said.

Such particles are born "when cosmic rays and ultrahigh energy gamma photons enter the atmosphere," scientists say.

The cost of this equipment is 92 million roubles as the bulk of the expenses will be covered by a grant Irkutsk's researchers won in April.

The works involve 25 students, post graduates and researchers from the University's department of physics and the Research Institute of Applied Physics, it said.

The project leader is Razmik Mirzoyan, an acclaimed astrophysicist from the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Germany's Munich.

The Tunka Valley is already home to several large-scale experiments to study cosmic rays and gamma rays.

The site is currently being run by Russian and German astrophysicists and has about 175 photomultiplier stations hunting for Cherenkov radiation on moonless and cloudless nights.

The technique used here is different from traditional imaging telescopes, it allows for a greater sensitivity thanks to a large area of detection, since the devices are spread over three square km.

Now, the observatory will be expanded to include 1,000 detectors spread across at least ten square km in the next three years.

The overall cost of Tunka HiSCORE's first phase is about 200 million roubles.

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