The Speed of Muons from Different Angles

The Speed of Muons from Different Angles

Anna Citko (Groves High School), Genevieve Yarema (Grosse Pointe South High School)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


Cosmic rays are particles (mostly protons) that come from space and are traveling near the speed of light. When these particles enter our atmosphere, they can collide with atmospheric gases and shatter into many other particles, including muons, the focus of our study. When the particle shatters, the products can go in all different directions. We wanted to figure out if muons coming down perpendicular to the surface of the earth maintain more of their speed than muons coming in at an angle. We tested this by placing 4 muon detector paddles in a telescope which we were able to tilt at different angles. We took data at at vertical, 45 degrees, and horizontal angles and used a time of flight study with a coincidence of 4 to determine the speed of the muons from each angle. We found that muons are coming in at a slower speed at an angle than they are vertically, but we were limited in how much data we were able to collect, so further studies may be needed.




Cosmic Ray