Cloud Chamber

Visitors watch the paths of high energy charged particles as they are revealed by condensing clouds in this cloud chamber. The main component of the exhibit is a refrigeration unit which keeps the air in the chamber supersaturated with alcohol. High energy charged particles are produced by cosmic rays. These high energy particles ionize the air along their tracks. The ions in the air then act as condensation nuclei for the alcohol. Thus, droplets of alcohol form clouds along the tracks of the charged particles. As the droplets grow they settle out of the chamber, which is then ready for more particles.

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