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Title: Studies of High Energy Particle Astrophysics

Abstract

This report covers the progress of the Michigan Technological University particle astrophysics group during the period April 15th, 2011 through April 30th, 2014. The principal investigator is Professor David Nitz. Professor Brian Fick is the Co-PI. The focus of the group is the study of the highest energy cosmic rays using the Pierre Auger Observatory. The major goals of the Pierre Auger Observatory are to discover and understand the source or sources of cosmic rays with energies exceeding 10**19 eV, to identify the particle type(s), and to investigate the interactions of those cosmic particles both in space and in the Earth's atmosphere. The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina was completed in June 2008 with 1660 surface detector stations and 24 fluorescence telescopes arranged in 4 stations. It has a collecting area of 3,000 square km, yielding an aperture of 7,000 km**2 sr.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Michigan Technological University
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan 49931
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1145912
Report Number(s):
DOE-MTU-ER41107
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-99ER41107
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Cosmic Frontier: Cosmic Rays

Citation Formats

Nitz, David F, and Fick, Brian E. Studies of High Energy Particle Astrophysics. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1145912.
Nitz, David F, & Fick, Brian E. Studies of High Energy Particle Astrophysics. United States. doi:10.2172/1145912.
Nitz, David F, and Fick, Brian E. Wed . "Studies of High Energy Particle Astrophysics". United States. doi:10.2172/1145912. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1145912.
@article{osti_1145912,
title = {Studies of High Energy Particle Astrophysics},
author = {Nitz, David F and Fick, Brian E},
abstractNote = {This report covers the progress of the Michigan Technological University particle astrophysics group during the period April 15th, 2011 through April 30th, 2014. The principal investigator is Professor David Nitz. Professor Brian Fick is the Co-PI. The focus of the group is the study of the highest energy cosmic rays using the Pierre Auger Observatory. The major goals of the Pierre Auger Observatory are to discover and understand the source or sources of cosmic rays with energies exceeding 10**19 eV, to identify the particle type(s), and to investigate the interactions of those cosmic particles both in space and in the Earth's atmosphere. The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina was completed in June 2008 with 1660 surface detector stations and 24 fluorescence telescopes arranged in 4 stations. It has a collecting area of 3,000 square km, yielding an aperture of 7,000 km**2 sr.},
doi = {10.2172/1145912},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jul 30 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Wed Jul 30 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}

Technical Report:

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  • Our research focuses on the “Cosmic Frontier”, one of the three principle thrusts of the DoE Office of Science High Energy Physics research program. The 2013 community summer study “Snowmass on the Mississippi” catalyzed joint work to describe the status and future prospects of this research thrust. Over its history, the field of cosmic ray studies has provided many discoveries of central importance to the the progress of high energy physics, including the identification of new elementary particles, measurements of particle interactions far above accelerator energies, and the confirmation of neutrino oscillations. In our research we continued this tradition, employingmore » 2 instruments (the Auger Observatory and the HAWC Observatory) to study high energy physics questions using cosmic rays. One approach to addressing particle physics questions at the cosmic frontier is to study the very highest energy cosmic rays. This has been the major thrust of our research effort. The two largest currently operating ultra-high energy cosmic ray (UHECR) observatories are the Pierre Auger Observatory in the Southern hemisphere, covering an area of 3000 km 2 and the Telescope Array (TA) in the Northern hemisphere, covering about 700 km 2. The observatories sample the cosmic ray air showers at ground level (with 1660 water Cerenkov stations in the Auger surface detector), and also measure the longitudinal development of air showers on clear moonless nights (approx. 10% of the events) using atmospheric fluorescence detectors. The observatories have recently installed low energy extensions, which provide an overlap with the LHC energy regime. The Auger and TA teams have established joint working groups to discuss experimental methods, compare data analyses and modeling, and perform cross calibrations. Another approach is to study high energy gamma rays. The High Altitude Water Cerenkov (HAWC) gamma-ray observatory is located at 4100 m above sea level near Pico de Orizaba in central Mexico. HAWC is the most sensitive, wide field of view, TeV gamma-ray observatory in operation. After 4 years of construction, operation of the full detector began in March 2015. The HAWC detector contains 300 tanks each 7.3 m in diameter and 4.5 m deep containing pure water. Each water tank is instrumented with 4 upward-viewing photomultiplier tubes mounted at their bottom. The water tanks record the energy deposited by and arrival times of the constituent components of impinging extensive air showers (EAS). The tanks are close-packed to optimize the spatial sampling of the shower front. The distribution of deposited energy across the shower is used for gamma-hadron rejection. Showers with large energy deposit away from the core are rejected as being hadron-initiated. The detector operates at full efficiency above 3 TeV. The angular resolution above that energy approaches 0.1 degree. As the detector operates both day and night, the wide field of view of ~2 sr, allows ~2/3 of the sky to be observed each day.« less
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