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Colloquium: The High Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory

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Miguel Mostafa, Pennsylvania State University
29 October 2015 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
117 Osmond Laboratory
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The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) experiment is a large field of view, continuously operated TeV gamma ray observatory located at 14,000~ft in Mexico. HAWC has an order of magnitude better sensitivity, angular resolution, and background rejection than the previous generation of ground arrays for gamma-ray detection. The improved performance allows us to detect both transient and steady emissions, to study the Galactic diffuse emission at TeV energies, and to measure or constrain the TeV spectra of GeV gamma-ray sources discovered with the Fermi satellite. In addition, HAWC is the only ground-based instrument capable of detecting prompt emission from gamma-ray bursts above 100~GeV. In this colloquium I will present the physics motivation, potential for discoveries, current status of the experiment, and the first results of the HAWC Observatory.