Cosmic rays are particles (mostly atomic nuclei) with energies above 1010 eV (sometimes even beyond 1020 eV) that are accelerated in highly energetic cosmic phenomena like supernovae, black hole jets… The exact processes in which they are produced are unknown, but they can be detected through their interaction with particles in the atmosphere.
Radio emission from such cosmic ray air showers was discovered by Jelley et al. in 1965. After a flurry of activities in the late 1960ies and early 1970ies, these activities ceased almost completely due to limitations of the available radio technology. With the new wave of digital radio telescopes like LOFAR and SKA planned for the coming years, the issue of radio emission from extensive air showers can be revisited.
The LOPES project, located in Karlsruhe and operated in coincidence with an existing, well calibrated air shower experiment (see picture below), aims to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology and pave the way for cosmic ray experiments with digital radio telescopes.
After approximately 10 years of operation, the measurements have been terminated in 2013. The analysis of the data still continues.
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