VIDEO: Largest gamma ray observatory on Earth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

VIDEO: Largest gamma ray observatory on Earth

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ATZITZINTLA, Mexico- The largest and most powerful gamma ray observatory ever built on Earth is sitting at the foot of a volcano in Mexico. Unlike optical observatories that use telescopes to study planets and stars, the high altitude Cherenkov Experiment, or HAWC, detects high energy cosmic particles to unravel the mysteries of black holes and supernovas.

HAWC is able to track where gamma rays originated, no matter how many light years away.  To do that, it utilizes tanks filled with 50-thousand gallons of pure water. Detectors at the bottom of each tank measures the angle and intensity of a flash of light produced when highly charged particles impact the tank at a velocity faster than the speed of light.

Dr. Jordan Goodman, a physicist working at the observatory says thanks to the earth's rotation and HAWC's size, the gamma ray hunter will be able to cover two thirds of the sky within a 24-hour period.

Scientists hope that by determining and mapping the origin of gamma rays, they can learn more about great cosmic events that produce them.
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