Photos: Electromagnet's Big Move from New York to Illinois

3,200-Mile Voyage

(Image credit: Brookhaven National Lab)

Moving a 50-foot-wide, 15-ton electromagnet from New York to Illinois is no easy task. Over the course of more than a month, the giant particle storage ring traveled by barge down the East Coast, around the tip of Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi. It arrived at its new home at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the suburbs of Chicago in the wee hours of July 26, 2013.

Muon Storage Ring

(Image credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory)

The storage ring was built in Long Island's Brookhaven National Laboratory. But now it's needed at Fermilab for the Muon g-2 experiment, an investigation into muons, subatomic particles that exist for just 2.2 millionths of a second. Compared with Brookhaven, Fermilab can generate more intense and pure beam of muons. Officials have said it costs about 10 times less to move the magnet halfway across the country than it would to build a new one at Fermilab.

Truck for Muon Ring

(Image credit: Fermilab)

A truck had to be carefully designed to transport the Muon g-2 ring and its red stabilizing apparatus during the land legs at the beginning and end its journey — from Brookhaven to a barge and from the barge to Fermilab.

Big Lift

(Image credit: Brookhaven National Lab)

Crane operators carefully move the ring from the specially adapted truck onto a barge at the Smith Point Marina on Long Island on June 24, 2013. The entire apparatus weighed about 50 tons.

Ready to Set Sail

(Image credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Workers from Emmert International secure the Muon g-2 ring to the barge on June 24, 2013.

Muon g-2

(Image credit: Brookhaven National Lab)

The Muon g-2 (gee-minus-two) physics experiment will start in 2016 and will involve 26 institutions around the world.

Interior Journey

(Image credit: Darin Clifton/Ceres Barge)

After making it safely down the Atlantic coast and across the Gulf of Mexico, the heavy machinery entered the interior United States. In this photo, a tugboat named Trident pulls the Muon g-2 barge into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway north of Mobile, Alabama.

Mississippi Cruise

(Image credit: Fermilab)

In front of St. Louis' Gateway Arch, a tugboat pushes a barge carrying the electromagnet up the Mississippi River.

Des Plaines Passage

(Image credit: Fermilab)

From the Mississippi River, the electromagnet made its way up the Des Plaines River toward a port in Lemont, Ill. This picture shows the heavy load passing through Joliet, Ill.

Unusual Delivery

(Image credit: Fermilab/Reidar Hahn)

A truck hauls the strange cargo in the early morning on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, through the suburbs of Chicago.

Oversize Load

(Image credit: Fermilab/Cindy Arnold)

The particle storage ring rolls up I-355, outside of Chicago, nearing the end of its slow drive to Fermilab.

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.