Name: Pierre Auger Observatory – participation of the Czech Republic

Institution: Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Coordinator: prof. Jan Řídký, DrSc.;


Already for more than a decade, the Czech Republic has been contributing to the construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of the equipment at the Pierre Auger Observatory, the largest detector of cosmic rays in the world, which covers more than 3,000 square kilometers of Argentinean pampa. The Observatory is an international research infrastructure with 17 participating countries and uses two techniques to detect cosmic rays – namely fluorescence telescopes and an array of surface detectors. Both systems are targeted towards the particles of the highest possible energies that arrive to Earth from space. The Czech research community, in collaboration with its international partners, contributes to a deeper understanding of the properties of the cosmic ray particles; its key role has been demonstrated by its taking leadership responsibility over for the operation of the fluorescence telescope system for many years. Overall, 15 out of 27 telescopes are equipped with glass mirrors of Czech provenience. Another unique contribution lies within the development and construction of devices for atmospheric monitoring. The Czech robotic telescope FRAM, which works fully autonomously, measures the aerosol content above the observatory and determines whether cosmic ray showers seen with an anomalous profile through the fluorescence detectors are affected by the scattering of light in the presence of clouds. The all-sky cameras from Czech Republic measure the distribution of clouds above the observatory. One of the goals of AUGER-CZ is thus to continue the development of technological solutions of optical and other systems for detecting cosmic rays and for monitoring atmospheric conditions. Experts from the Czech Republic carry out tests of brand new techniques to study cosmic rays. Recently, the Czech Republic has been participating in the expansion of the Pierre Auger Observatory with an array of scintillator detectors placed above the existing surface detector stations. The successful activities of AUGER-CZ have also led to the current involvement of the Czech Republic within the planned CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) observatory. AUGER-CZ is actively involved in a number of European infrastructure networks, such as the AugerNext project, which studies the possibilities offered by new techniques of cosmic ray detection. AUGER-CZ is also participating on strategy building within APPEC (Astroparticle Physics European Consortium).