AugerPrime Inauguration

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During November 14–17, 2015, the Pierre Auger Collaboration celebrated the inauguration of AugerPrime. Spread over an area of 3000 km2 in the 'yellow pampa' in western Argentina, Auger is the largest cosmic ray experiment in the world. AugerPrime allows the Czech researchers to contribute to discerning the mysteries of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays until 2025.

The Observatory has collected unprecedented statistics of these mysterious events. It has established the most precise energy spectrum and has published a catalogue of incoming directions of the most energetic events. It has also addressed the chemical composition of the primary cosmic particles and many more questions. In fact, the Observatory has opened a new window to the Universe and thanks to that it is now able to ask more detailed questions about the origin of these elusive particles. More than 500 scientists from 16 countries are working together since 1998 in the Province of Mendoza, Argentina, to better understand the origin and properties of the most energetic particles from the distant Universe.

Since 1999, the Czech Republic is a full Auger member state, represented at the institutional level by the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Palacky University in Olomouc and the Charles University in Prague. The Czech Republic has played an important role in the development, construction and operation of the Observatory when the Czech contribution was directed namely at the construction, calibration and operation of fluorescence detectors. The Czech members are now also contributing to the forefront of data analysis and physics interpretation.


The Czech mirrors are installed in more than half of the current fluorescence telescopes. “Innovations and pure science have met in this project. It is the collaboration of optical experts, particle physicists and astronomers what makes the Czech participation visible and significant…” says director of the Institute of Physics, prof. Jan Ridky and continues “… during the years our participation has been financed by several resources, but it would have been totally impossible without the support of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.”

Auger has redefined the term “scientific adventure” and set new standards in multi-national cooperation and research training. More than 220 young researchers have completed a PhD thesis. Auger has brought new insights into the origin and nature of cosmic rays, e.g. the particles seem to be surprisingly heavy, which makes “particle astronomy” difficult. We cannot tell yet whether the intensity drop at the energy of ten million TeV is due to interactions with cosmic microwave background or whether it is a feature of the so-called cosmic accelerators. How can they attain energies far beyond the 7 TeV of the LHC? These and other upcoming challenges will be addressed in the second decade of data collection with an upgraded detector system called AugerPrime.

Group picture of the national representatives of the Pierre Auger Observatory during a ceremony on 16 November 2015. Prof. Jan Řídký is the fifth from the right.

The AugerPrime upgrade will consist of enhanced surface scintillation detector stations deployed over the full 3000 km2 area, faster electronics, dedicated underground muon detectors and optimized fluorescence telescopes. Ten more years of operation is planned to double the data set and to particularly study the origin of the flux suppression at ultra-high energy, the proton contribution at highest energies beyond 1019 eV and new particle physics beyond the reach of the LHC.

During the Symposium, the current achievements and the inauguration of AugerPrime were celebrated, and the International Agreement for ten more years of cooperation and operation was signed. There were exciting opportunities for excursions at the Observatory, as well as time for interesting contacts with guests from science, politics and media of all Auger member countries.

The venue is
Malargue, Mendoza, Argentina
Pierre Auger Observatory
14.–16. November 2015

Further information about AugerPrime, a factsheet for the Pierre Auger Observatory and flyer about AugerPrime Symposium: