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Title: The wavefront of the radio signal emitted by cosmic ray air showers

Analyzing measurements of the LOPES antenna array together with corresponding CoREAS simulations for more than 300 measured events with energy above 10{sup 17} eV and zenith angles smaller than 45{sup o}, we find that the radio wavefront of cosmic-ray air showers is of approximately hyperbolic shape. The simulations predict a slightly steeper wavefront towards East than towards West, but this asymmetry is negligible against the measurement uncertainties of LOPES. At axis distances ∼> 50 m, the wavefront can be approximated by a simple cone. According to the simulations, the cone angle is clearly correlated with the shower maximum. Thus, we confirm earlier predictions that arrival time measurements can be used to study the longitudinal shower development, but now using a realistic wavefront. Moreover, we show that the hyperbolic wavefront is compatible with our measurement, and we present several experimental indications that the cone angle is indeed sensitive to the shower development. Consequently, the wavefront can be used to statistically study the primary composition of ultra-high energy cosmic rays. At LOPES, the experimentally achieved precision for the shower maximum is limited by measurement uncertainties to approximately 140 g/c {sup 2}. But the simulations indicate that under better conditions this method might yieldmore » an accuracy for the atmospheric depth of the shower maximum, X{sub max}, better than 30 g/c {sup 2}. This would be competitive with the established air-fluorescence and air-Cherenkov techniques, where the radio technique offers the advantage of a significantly higher duty-cycle. Finally, the hyperbolic wavefront can be used to reconstruct the shower geometry more accurately, which potentially allows a better reconstruction of all other shower parameters, too.« less
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  1. Institut für Kernphysik, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen (Germany)
  2. Instituto de Física y Matemáticas, Universidad Michoacana, Edificio C-3, Cd. Universitaria, C.P. 58040 Morelia, Michoacán (Mexico)
  3. ASTRON, Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo (Netherlands)
  4. Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via Giuria 1, 10125 Torino (Italy)
  5. Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn (Germany)
  6. National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, Str. Reactorului no. 30, P.O. Box MG-6, Bucharest-Magurele (Romania)
  7. Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Trabalhador São-Carlense 400, Pq. Arnold Schmidt, São Carlos (Brazil)
  8. Institut für Experimentelle Kernphysik, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen (Germany)
  9. Institut für Prozessdatenverarbeitung und Elektronik, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen (Germany)
  10. Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Universität Siegen, Walter-Flex-Straße 3, 57072 Siegen (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics; Journal Volume: 2014; Journal Issue: 09; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States