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This DIY project allows you to catch a falling muon

MIT physicists have developed and launched a $ 100 muon detector that you can build at home, allowing you to feel the deep space bombing on something that looks like a remote control TV. The CosmicWatch is essentially a small box that can detect high energy cosmic rays when they reach the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate into muons.

Muons hit the Earth in a "light drizzle," says creator of the aircraft, Spencer Axani. He and the other members of the team, Katarzyna Frankiewicz and Paweł Przewłocki of the Warsaw National Nuclear Research Center and Janet Conrad of MIT, have created a complete DIY system to build and measure muons when they cross the detector. You can find the DIY plans here and even download the project code on Github. It uses an Arduino Nano and a silicon photomultiplier "to detect the scintillation light emitted by the charged particles as they pass through the scintillator."

Axani attached the device to weather balloons and even sent student teams to the Boston subway to see how much the account has changed. They plan to send a detector into a suborbital rocket.

"At sea level, you could see an account every two seconds at sea level, but in a cruising altitude plane, that rate increases by about a factor of 50, a dramatic change "said Axani. "From the measured rate, you can recalculate the actual altitude of the aircraft."

You can also use this device to map walls, which allows you to make a map of another floor simply by observing where muons are more common.

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"It's something I'd like to try at some point, perhaps to trace the desk on the floor above me," said Axani.