The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma Ray Observatory has begun operations at its site on the Sierra Negra and Pico de Orizaba volcanos in Mexico. HAWC was designed to study the source of very high-energy cosmic rays and view the most energetic objects in the universe.
The observatory uses an array of Cherenkov detectors to observe high-energy cosmic rays and gamma rays. Gamma rays (electromagnetic radiation of very high frequency) and cosmic rays (subatomic particles of very high energy) are products of the most energetic and cataclysmic events in the known universe. The observatory uses a unique detection technique that will provide a significant increase in international scientific and technical knowledge.