The HiSPARC experiment

K. van Dam*, B. van Eijk, D. B.R.A. Fokkema, J. W. van Holten, A. P.L.S. de Laat, N. G. Schultheiss, J. J.M. Steijger, J. C. Verkooijen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics (HiSPARC) is a large extensive air shower (EAS) array with detection stations throughout the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark and Namibia. HiSPARC is a collaboration of universities, scientific institutes and high schools. The majority of detection stations is hosted by high schools. A HiSPARC station consists of two or four scintillators placed inside roof boxes on top of a building. The measured response of a detector to single incoming muons agrees well with GEANT4 simulations. The response of a station to EASs agrees with simulations as well. A four-scintillator station was integrated in the KASCADE experiment and was used to determine the accuracy of the shower direction reconstruction. Using simulations, the trigger efficiency of a station to detect a shower as function of both distance to the shower core and zenith angle was determined. The HiSPARC experiment is taking data since 2003. The number of stations (∼140 in 2019) still increases. The project demonstrates that its approach is viable for educational purposes and that scientific data can be obtained in a collaboration with high school students and teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163577
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Early online date5 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2020


  • Cosmic rays
  • Extensive air shower detector
  • High school
  • Outreach
  • Scintillation detector


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