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Physicist Uses Cosmic Rays to Map Internal Structures of Pyramids

Physicist Uses Cosmic Rays to Map Internal Structures of Pyramids
Scientists have discovered a mysterious void in Eygpt's Great Pyramid using cosmic ray. Photo by David McEachan/via CC0 license

A UT Austin faculty member spoke to reporters about the discovery of a hidden void in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza. The almost 100-feet long cavity was detected by scanning the pyramid using high-energy particles called muons.

Muons, which are particles created by collisions between cosmic rays and the Earth's atmosphere, lose energy when they pass through rock, but not when they pass through air. By tracking areas where muons are in excess, researchers can locate and visualize the void's shape.

"What's so delightful is that [muons] are like Goldilocks: They lose enough [energy] to detect them but not so much that they just get absorbed in the target," said UT Austin physicist Roy Schwitters, who spoke with National Geographic about this imaging technique. "They're really a fabulous treat from nature."

Although Schwitters was not involved in this particular project, he uses muons to search for similar hidden chambers and spaces within a Mayan pyramid in Belize

"[Muons] are coming from the most energetic cosmic events in the universe. They're a piece of nature," Schwitters said to The Washington Post. "You're using elementary particles to do something you can't do any other way."

Read more: 

Mysterious Void Discovered in Egypt's Great Pyramid, National Geographic

Cosmic rays reveal mysterious void in Egypt's Great Pyramid, The Washington Post

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

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