Amount of Shower events vs. Time of day

By: Kevin Dietz(Grosse Pointe South) and Evan Croft(Fraser High School)

Teacher: Mike Niedballa (Michigan Collegiate High School)

Research mentor: Robert Harr (Wayne State University)


            Our purpose was to find if there is any pattern in the frequency of shower events per hour throughout the day. To test this, we set up our detectors on a table parallel to the ground. We found the frequencies of events in one hour bins.  We then averaged the frequency of events for each hour and looked for any patterns in the average frequency. The data is consistent and shows no obvious trend. Possible future experiments could look for patterns in muon showers with respect to atmospheric pressure or other phenomena.

Speed of a Muon

Lueda Shemitraku (Troy High School), Alexander Quinn (Greenhills School)

Mike Niedballa ( Michigan Collegiate High School)

Robert Harr (Wayne State University)


The purpose of our research to measure any offset between the paddles to accurately measure the speed of a muon. To measure the offset we conducted 4 tests, testing paddles 0 and 1, and paddles 2 and 3. We first staked 0 and 1, collected data, then switched them. After running a shower study we found out there is an offset of .3667 between them. We performed the same test but on paddles 2 and 3. For those paddles we found that they both matched up with 0 offset. Since we knew the accuracy of the paddles we could then measure the speed of a muon. We added 1.5 m distance between the paddles and found for 1 and 0, speed of .1881569 m/nanosec.For 2 and 3 we found a speed of .31129567 m/nanosec  Possible labs from this study could be measuring the time delay of not just 0 and 1, and 2 and 3 but all the combinations possible.


Muon Directional and Angular Flux Study

Garrett Weidig (Grosse Pointe South HS), Kristopher Mortensen (Groves High School)

Mike Niedballa (Michigan Collegiate High School)

Robert Harr (Wayne State University)


The purpose of the research was to find a pattern in the direction and angle of which muons enter and hit our atmosphere.  To test this, we set up a telescope, a device used to separate cosmic ray detectors and also to keep them in alinement, so that it could be maneuvered to face North, South, East, and West and also pivot in the middle to make angles of 0, 30, 60, and 90 degrees. From there, we set the coincidence level to 2 and started recording data for each direction at each angle.  After this, flux studies were ran and our results showed that for all channels in all directions the ideal angle to detect muons is at 30 degrees from the vertical (60 from the horizontal).  Of the data involved with the 30 degrees, there were an overwhelming amount of hits coming from the North and the West.  This result could have been the result of a faulty voltmeter which would then lead to faulty volt settings in the experiments.  These results (the heavy favoring of the North) could be suspected of being this way because of the magnetic field.  For later experiments, we suggest that they are conducted in different parts of the world where the magnetic field is stronger or weaker.


BHSU Abstract-Cosmic Ray and Weather Correlation Study

J. Ivy (Aberdeen Central High School)
Steve Gabriel (Spearfish High School) Dr. Kara Keeter (Black Hills State University)

The purpose of this study was to locate and isolate instances of coincidence between muon flux and major weather events over the last three to five years. We conducted this search by running flux studies on reliable cosmic ray data during the time of three major weather events. These events were the tornado outbreaks of May 2013, Hurricane Sandy, and the Black Hills blizzard of October 2013. For each of the events, we used the cosmic ray data of the Spearfish High School CRMD (Cosmic Ray Muon Detector), which has the most consistent data of any of the detectors, as a baseline. The outbreak event looked at data from the Spearfish, Arkansas City, KS, and the Fermilab detectors. On all three detectors there was an increase in flux during both periods of the outbreak, May 16-18th and 25-31st , and recorded a drop in events between the outbreaks. Because of the issue of also matching barometric pressure and the inconsistence of one of the detectors, we were not able to determine a correlation. The second event, Hurricane Sandy, looked mostly at a detector in Michigan. The muon flux in the data corresponded to fluctuations in barometric pressure, rising and falling at approximately the same rate. This also coincided with the landfall of Sandy. Due to the lack of data from other detectors, the Michigan one being the only one within 2,000+ miles, I was able to find coincidence, but correlation could not be determined. The Black Hills blizzard event focused on the flux data of the Spearfish detector, and a detector in the Lead-Deadwood area of South Dakota. There was no correlation in the data, and there were inconsistencies in the data that made determining any correlation nearly impossible without further investigation. Between all three of our studies, we could not find any correlation between the weather events and muon flux due to inconsistence of data, lack of other sources of data, and time constraint. At this time, further investigation would be required to confirm my findings or to find evidence of correlation. 


Black Hills Abstract 2013 - Cosmic Ray Muon Detector and Flow Meter

Madison Jilek, Drew Powers, Christopher Randolph, Rachel Williams

Cosmic Ray Muon Detector

The purpose of having underground labs is to get away from cosmic rays, which can create unwanted or harmful backgrounds in the results of hypersensitive experiments such as LUX and Majorana which are currently underground at the 4850 ft. level at SURF. One could use the cosmic ray muon detector to detect these potentially harmful rays. Inside the detectors, there is a photomultiplier tube (PMT) mated with a scintillator and when a muon hits the scintillator it loses energy in the form of a photon due to the change in medium, which is counted by the PMT. After taking data, someone could run flux studies, and when different people compared those studies to the atmospheric pressure, it was noticed that there was a correlation between the two. When pressure was at a low, more muons passed through our detectors, and when the pressure was at a high, less muons passed through.

Flow Meter

The flow meter project is an ongoing project at the 4850 level in the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The flow meters were built to monitor the air flow, temperature, and humidity of the ventilation. Ventilation is very important in a confined space environment wherein fresh air, radon gas expulsion, and coolant are necessary to keep the environment habitable. The flow meters were constructed, using Campbell Scientific equipment, and installed using sonic anemometers to measure air speed and flow, a pressure sensor, and a relative temperature and humidity probe to monitor the underground conditions. Our data collected showed us several correlations to the regular operations of the facility, such as the Orohondo Fan. The Orohondo Fan pulls air out of the levels in the facility with also brings out excess radon gas, old air, and heat to the surface. When the fan was turned off, air flow sharply decreased from around a consistent 70000 ft. per min to around 25000 ft. per min at the 17 Ledge, and decreased from around 80000 ft. per min to around 45000 ft. per min at the 4 Winze Wye. This shows that the data can be important to the facility when emergencies occur, such as carbon monoxide or fires, to see the direction of the emergency activity, and how to resolve the problem.