Status and First Results of the LHAASO Experiment
September 30, 2020
The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) plans to build a hybrid extensive air shower (EAS) array with an area of about 1 km^2 at an altitude of 4410 m a.s.l. in Sichuan province, China, aiming at very high energy gamma ray astronomy and cosmic ray physics around the spectrum knees. With an extensive air shower array covering an area of 1.3 km^2 equipped with >40,000 m^2 muon detectors and 78,000 m^2 water Cherenkov detector array, a sensitivity of about 1% Crab unit to gamma ray sources is achieved at 2×1012 eV and 5×10^13 eV, thus the LHAASO will survey the entire northern sky for gamma ray sources with full duty cycle and high sensitivity. The spectra of all sources in its field of view will be measured simultaneously over a wide energy range from from 10^11 eV to 10^15 eV. This measurement will offer a great opportunity for identifying cosmic ray origins among the sources. The LHAASO is also equipped with 12 Cherenkov/fluorescence telescopes, so it will serve as an effective detector for energy spectrum measurement of different mass groups of cosmic rays over a wide energy range from 10^14 eV to 10^18 eV.
Civil construction started in the middle of 2016, two years later, detector deployment began. The first water pool with 900 detector units covering an area of 22,500 m^2 was put into operation in April of 2019. 1200 scintillation detectors, 300 muon detectors and 6 telescopes were deployed afterwards. 1/4 of the LHAASO array will be in operation soon. Preliminary results of the LHAASO experiment are presented.
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