SNAPSHOT: This Ion-Smasher Simulates the Big Bang's Earliest Moments

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SNAPSHOT: This Ion-Smasher Simulates the Big Bang's Earliest Moments

The STAR detector is reflected through a crystal sphere in this finalist photo by Joe Caggiano, from the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s 2018 Photowalk competition. STAR stands for Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC, which in turn stands for Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider — a device so complex it needs an acronym within an acronym.

STAR is actually made up of a number of detectors which, combined, are as large as a house, weighing in at 1,200 tons.

It’s one of just two operational accelerato

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