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Naperville Central Goes Cosmic

Wednesday November 2nd was International Cosmic Day, and some local students celebrated in a global way.

To commemorate the day, students and scientists from around the world all measured cosmic particles, collecting a large global data set.

That included students at Naperville Central High School, who measured muon rays using sensors they had previously built.

Phoebe Harmon, a junior at Naperville Central explained their work, “we’re testing how many times the muons hit the sensor, and so today we’re looking at angles and other days we’ve also looked at coincidences. So if the muons are hitting, we’ll put the sensors on top of each other and see if they are hitting both the top and the bottom sensor and how many times.”

There was someone recording the data and timing each collection period, with other students adjusting the sensors to various angles and making sure all equipment was working correctly.

And all who participated gave up their lunch hour to work on this project. Colin Jensen, a junior at Naperville Central, felt it was a worthwhile sacrifice. “I think it’s such a unique opportunity,” he said. “What other high school can you go into a room and actually track subatomic particles coming through our atmosphere. I think that’s an opportunity that you really can’t just give up and go eat lunch. I can always go eat lunch any day, but to actually do this is such a unique opportunity I couldn’t pass it by.”

The data was then sent to an international database, which will use it to further study the cosmic particles.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.


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