Clocks and other electronic devices in different parts of the planet can be precisely synchronized in time using cosmic rays. The idea was put forward by geophysicist Hiroyuki Tanaka of the University of Tokyo in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Today, atomic clocks can maintain accuracy for decades, but they are expensive and cannot synchronize clocks in remote areas, he said. Synchronization with satellite signals is also problematic in the polar regions, underwater and in the mountains.
Tanaka proposed a new method – space-time synchronization (CTS), based on the use of large air showers. They arise from cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.
These rays create a “precipitation” of various particles, including muons, which fly towards the earth at close to the speed of light and thus reach the earth at the same time. By recording their arrival, CTS devices can be synchronized with each other in real time. “The principle is simple and the technology, sensors and electronics already exist. So we can implement this idea pretty quickly,” says the author.
According to him, clocks can be synchronized this way all over the planet, because showers of particles occur frequently – a hundred times per square kilometer of surface.