Ceramic component manufacturer Morgan Advanced Ceramics has secured a contract with Photek Ltd. of St. Leonards-on-Sea, UK, to supply hexagonal ceramic insulators for intensifiers used in NASA’s Owl, an earth-orbiting system for the study of air showers initiated by ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays. The ceramic will allow an accurate picture of the particles, enabling scientists to study their origins. When the rays enter Earth’s atmosphere, a disk of UV fluorescence flashes, traveling at nearly the speed of light and lasting only a few tens of microseconds. The companies created a hexagonal design 168 mm across flats that enables the intensifiers to fit together in a honeycomb style for maximum collection of UV light. As a subsidiary of Morgan Crucible Co., Morgan Advanced Ceramics forms part of the Morgan Technical Ceramics Group, which has offices in Stourport, UK, in Waldkraiburg, Germany, and in other locations. Owl is scheduled for launch in 2010.