Okay people, here’s the deal. I’ve spent the last hour on Wikipedia trying to figure out exactly what cosmic rays are so I can explain to you what this event is all about. It’s way harder than it sounds, but I can assure you – the event will be something pretty extraordinary.
Some pretty smart people have spent countless hours putting together something super science-y, to detect cosmic rays and muons, so we can basically ‘see’ and hear the particles in the air around us. It’s called Cosmic Array and it’s going to be beautiful.
Basically, a muon is an unstable subatomic particle with a mean lifetime of 2.2 microseconds, much longer than many other subatomic particles. As cosmic weather (think: supernovas, black holes, and cosmic rays) hits the atmosphere, the particles shatter into millions of smaller particles, some of those particles are muons, and some aren’t.
But how do we know what is a muon and what isn’t? We don’t, because humans aren’t that smart, but machines are, and they can detect what is and is not a muon. This way, even those who failed physics at school can understand muons and space in a way that’s far less complicated – through light and sound.
So, basically these dudes made these muon detectors from geiger tubes, and connected them to lights and sounds. They’re spreading them out on the Torrens foreshore, and basically, if the tube detects space or environmental radiation (I confirmed with the guys that it’s not BAD radiation) it’ll light up a certain colour and make a certain sound. Then if a muon hits – BAM – it’ll change colours and a certain chord will play.
Imagine you’re in a part of Australia with terrible signal: the static from your TV or radio – that’s the space radiation; the blips of other sounds or images – that’s the muons. They don’t happen very often because while particles are all around us, muons are special and not every particle is a muon.
In super-dumb, but super cool-sounding terms: You’re gonna hear music and see a light show made for you by the cosmos, and you’ll never hear or see anything exactly like it again because space is random and uncontrollable.
Now, if this sounds way too science-y for you, we understand. But luckily, the crazy smart guys who’ve developed this concept will be there to explain it all to you so you understand what’s going on, because we’re pretty sure our explanation makes no sense.
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