Experiments and Surveys

Some of science’s most exciting projects happen here

CCAPP’s faculty, postdocs and students are leaders in some of the world’s most ambitious experiments and surveys.

As an institutional partner in the IceCube detector in Antarctica, CCAPP has contributed vision and expertise leading to the discovery of the highest-energy particle ever detected. Its internationally respected researchers have led the AUGER detector’s investigation of high-energy cosmic rays in Argentina and served as spokeswoman and as project scientist for the international Sloan Digital Sky Survey. And they provide theory white papers for major projects like the international Dark Energy Survey, which is exploring the nature of dark energy and its gravitational effects on the universe’s acceleration from an observatory in Chile.

As a result of CCAPP’s diverse mix of talent, its scientists have developed an unmatched, interdisciplinary system for building instruments that push the boundaries of what is possible. Physicists are able to create instruments and operating systems for projects like BOSS and DES, with astronomers analyzing the resulting data and providing feedback. With Ohio State’s unique CART facility, CCAPP faculty, postdocs and students create electronics and equipment for Antarctic detectors like NASA’s balloon-borne ANITA, which observes light created by the highest-energy neutrinos, and ground-level ARIANNA, which listens for the radio waves those particles emit.

Currently, researchers at CCAPP are building new tools for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. Scheduled to go live in 2018 at the Mayall telescope in Arizona, DESI will map the nearby universe to 11 billion light years, including 25 million galaxies and quasars. Ohio State is creating the intricate positioning system that will turn 5,000 individually controlled optic cables to precise coordinates. The result of their work will help measure the mass of neutrinos and the effect of dark energy on the expansion of the universe in space and time. DESI will also help reveal the structure and expansion history going back to when the universe was a mere 2 billion years old, and look for imprints on matter made by the universe’s inflation when it was less than one second old.

CCAPP is also a leader in providing wide access to scientific data, such as sharing the data from its All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae with amateur astronomers who can examine objects more closely. As a result of this approach, ASAS-SN has discovered hundreds of supernovae, including the most powerful one ever detected.

Every day, CCAPP faculty, postdocs and students are generating endeavors and insights that fuel our quest to understand the universe—and will continue to do so for decades to come.