Surprise in Naples subway: there is an INFN cosmic-ray detector
The cosmic-ray detector developed at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) was inaugurated in Naples. This is a veritable telescope that can show the invisible particles emanating from the Sun or other stars that constantly hit our Planet.
Its location is unusual and unique: the fascinating instrument was installed under the Toledo subway station, known for the works of contemporary art hosted there. Thanks to its “electronic eye”, the telescope detects cosmic rays coming from the space and transforms them into luminous flashes through LEDs connected to photodetectors that are turned on by their passage.
The initiative, promoted by Naples Municipality and Campania Region, is the first of its kind implemented in Italy in a public place like the subway. The objective is to intrigue the thousands of passengers who daily use the subway, thus bringing them closer to the work of physicists and astrophysicists who explore the secrets of the Universe and the constituents of matter.
From the cosmic rays investigated by underground testing, carried out on the Earth’s surface and in the space, INFN physicists get precious data about the evolution and composition of our Universe, in view of a number of applications: from biomedicine to volcanology, to air pollution monitoring and safety controls.