China starts building largest cosmic-ray observatory

China starts building largest cosmic-ray observatory

China starts building largest cosmic-ray observatory

 After commissioning the world's biggest telescope, China is now building one of the largest and most sensitive cosmic-ray facilities, costing about USD 180 million, official media reported today.

Located about 4,410 meters above sea level in the mountainous areas in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) will attempt to search for the origin of high energy cosmic rays, state-run People's Daily reported.

The 1.2 billion yuan (USD 180 million) observatory aims to study the evolution of the universe and high energy celestial bodies, as well as to push forward the frontier of new physics, it said.

It is stated to be one of world's largest cosmic ray facilities.
The project was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, on December 31, 2015.

The construction of the LHAASO is set for completion in January 2021. It will be a key frontier project for cosmic ray research internationally, the report said.

China's high altitude observatory will have four different arrays to detect gamma and cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are particles that originate in outer space and are accelerated to energies higher than those that can be achieved in even the largest man-made particle accelerators.

The origin of the cosmic rays, however, has remained a mystery since they were first spotted some 100 years ago, it said.

LHAASO will be mankind's first attempt to hunt for the highest-energy Gamma ray, which is the bursts of radiation thought to be produced alongside cosmic rays in our Galaxy.

LHAASO is expected to offer a unique perspective on the origins of cosmic rays, high-energy particles that rain down on Earth.

Last year, China commissioned the world's largest radio telescope in a mountainous region of southwest Guizhou Province to search for more strange objects space, gain better understanding about the origin of the universe and to boost the global hunt for extra-terrestrial life.