Multi-TeV Particle Astrophysics with the HAWC Observatory

Project: Research project

Project Details


Gamma-rays are the highest energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Observations of astrophysical gamma-rays serve as probes of physical conditions and processes in the most extreme environments throughout the Universe, and can be used to test fundamental physics. The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory, located on the slopes of the Sierra Negra in Mexico, is a ground-based facility designed to observe very high energy gamma-rays. HAWC has unique capabilities with a wide field of view that can observe two-thirds of the sky every day. This award supports scientists at Pennsylvania State University to carry out research with HAWC. The group will participate in both technical operations in support of the observatory and scientific investigations. The Pennsylvania State University group is engaged in education and outreach efforts. They are developing new data acquisition systems and activities that can be used in high-school teacher summer workshops.

HAWC consists of an array of 300 water tanks equipped with photomultiplier tubes that detect particles from the extensive air showers generated when high energy gamma-rays and cosmic rays impact the upper atmosphere. The Pennsylvania State University group is involved in critical aspects of the HAWC observatory, including the calibration of the photomultiplier tubes, the online acquisition and analysis system, and the development of analysis tools. They are also involved in the study of high-energy emission from gamma-ray bursts and high energy diffuse emission regions.

Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/18


  • National Science Foundation: $655,085.00


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