Name: Pierre Auger Observatory – participation of the Czech Republic

Institution: Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Coordinator: Petr Trávníček, PhD.;


For over a decade, the Czech Republic has been contributing to the construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of equipment at the Pierre Auger Observatory, the largest detector of cosmic rays in the world, covering more than 3,000 square kilometres of the Argentinean pampa. The Observatory is an international RI with 17 Member Countries and uses two techniques to detect cosmic rays – namely fluorescence telescopes and an array of surface detectors. Both systems are targeted at particles of the highest possible energies that arrive to Earth from space. The Czech research community, in collaboration with international partners, contributes to a deeper understanding of the properties of cosmic ray particles; its key role was demonstrated when, for many years, it took over leadership responsibility for the operation of the fluorescence telescope system. Overall, 15 out of the 27 Pierre Auger Observatory telescopes are equipped with glass mirrors of Czech provenance. Another unique contribution by Czechia is the development and construction of devices for atmospheric monitoring. Two Czech robotic telescopes FRAM, which work fully autonomously, measure the aerosol content above the Pierre Auger Observatory and determine if 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 the Czech Republic measure the distribution of clouds above the Pierre Auger 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 Czechia carry out tests of brand-new techniques to study cosmic rays. Recently, Czechia has participated in the expansion of the Pierre Auger Observatory with an array of scintillator detectors placed above the existing surface detector stations. The activities of AUGER-CZ have also led to the involvement of the Czech Republic in CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory). AUGER-CZ has been actively involved in a number of European RI networks, such as the AugerNext, which studies the possibilities offered by new techniques of cosmic ray detection. AUGER-CZ also takes part in strategy building through APPEC (Astroparticle Physics European Consortium).