How to turn your smartphone into a cosmic-ray detector

cosmic-rays-illustrationWant to study high-energy particles streaming through the cosmos at nearly the speed of light? There’s an app for that.

It’s called the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-Ray Observatory (DECO), and unlike the huge, multimillion-dollar particle detectors housed in labs, DECO allows smartphone owners to turn their phone into a pocket-size cosmic-ray particle detector by downloading two apps and sticking a piece of duct tape over the camera lens to block out light particles.

Cosmic rays are still a mystery to astrophysicists. There’s a huge number of them flying through the cosmos and astronomers think they come from powerful forces like black holes and exploding supernovas.  More