The subject of ultrahigh energy astrophysics research is cosmic radiation exceeding energies of 1015 eV. Consisting mainly of protons (but also light nuclei up to iron, photons and neutrinos) particles of these energies are of particular interest to astrophysics due to the information they carry when arriving to earth. Especially particles with energies >1018 eV presumably from outside our galaxy are extraordinarily interesting and capable of changing our understanding of cosmology and the standard model of particle physics.
Currently some earth based UHECR experiments (Auger Observatory, Super-Kamiokande among others) are taking data. Unfortunately, the flux of cosmic rays with these energies arriving to earth is incredibly low, only one particle (with energies >1020 eV) per millenium per km2 is expected to hit the earth. This is the reason why only a handful of these events has been measured so far.
The high energy group in Tübingen takes part in two missions with a completely new technique in the detection of UHECR - the space approach.