"If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment." Ernest Rutherford

Miguel at Colorado State University

Y un rayo misterioso hará nido en tu pelo...

I work in experimental particle astrophysics. I have been a member of the Pierre Auger Collaboration for over a decade now, working on the detection of ultra high energy cosmic rays. I have recently joined the HAWC Collaboration to build a large gamma ray detector in Mexico. If you are interested in these fantastic subjects read on!

Physics is Phun!
Experimental work is fun!

the Colorado Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate

The NSF-funded AGEP Program at CSU seeks to significantly increase the number of minority students that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our long term goal is to support minority students to earn their PhDs in science and seek careers as university professors. I am a member of the AGEP faculty at CSU, and I am more than happy to tell you more about the AGEP Program and about our research in the Physics Department at CSU.

Information about the AGEP Assistantship Award Program can be found in the main page of the AGEP Program.

the HAWC Observatory

HAWC Collaboration - Feb '10 in Puebla, Mexico

My 1st Collab. meeting

Contribution to HAWC

We will build the 300 bladders (see our first in the top right picture) for the HAWC water Cherenkov detectors here at CSU.

We have also set up a full-size fully-instrumented! water Cherenkov detector at CSU. The absolute best toy ever! Come and play with us. (Everybody else is!)

We are interested in the cosmic ray anisotropy, the detection of GRBs, and new extended sources of gamma rays among other physics topics. Lots of fun! Stay tuned.

Our 1st bladder
Our very own WCD

the Pierre Auger Observatory

Auger Collaboration - Sep '96 in San Rafael, Argentina

Te acordas hermano?  Que tiempos aquellos!

Ten Years in Pictures

In 10 years the Southern Observatory became a reality!
We deployed over 1600 surface detectors, built 4 fluorescence detectors with 24 fluorescence telescopes, the Collaboration grew larger, and my hair longer.
(For some strange reason the opposite effect occurred to some of my collaborators' hair... go figure)

Auger Collaboration - Mar '06 in Malargüe, Argentina

Only 10 years later...

our cover of Science

AGN article We announced on 8-Nov-2007 that active galactic nuclei are the most likely candidate for the source of the highest-energy cosmic rays that hit Earth. Using our Observatory in Argentina, the largest cosmic-ray observatory in the world, we found that the sources of the highest-energy particles are not distributed uniformly across the sky. Instead, our results link the origins of these mysterious particles to the locations of nearby galaxies that have active nuclei in their centers. The results appear in the Nov 9 issue of the journal Science.

Read more

The journal Science listed our result third among all scientific breakthroughs of the year.

The editors of Nature magazine picked it as their favorite Astronomy story of the year not published in Nature.

The American Institute of Physics named it as one of the top 10 physics news stories of the year.

Physics World featured our announcement as one of the best news stories in 2007.

My Contribution in Auger

My two cents on Auger are mainly on two subjects: atmospheric monitoring and on the reconstruction of hybrid events. Hybrid events are ultra-high energy comic ray showers seen by both the surface array and the fluorescence detectors.

Atmospheric monitoring is critical for the correct analysis of the fluorescence data and therefore is central to the issue of the GZK cutoff. While the analysis of the Auger hybrid data extends the lower energy range of Auger (to approx. 1017 eV) and results in events with superior directional, shower energy, and compositional information. As the flux of cosmic rays rises dramatically with decreasing energy, this analysis results in a large sample of events for physics.

Results of the hybrid reconstruction are used for anisotropy studies (point sources searches from the Galactic Center, for example), composition measurements (setting limits to photon primaries), and for the determination of the primary spectrum (extended to lower energies).

Miguel Alejandro Mostafá

Department of Physics
Colorado State University

1875 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1875

+1 (970) 491-5680


My research is supported by the National Science Foundation.

NSF logo