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Potential for measuring the longitudinal and lateral profile of muons in TeV air showers with IACTs


Mitchell, A M W; Dembinski, H P; Parsons, R D (2019). Potential for measuring the longitudinal and lateral profile of muons in TeV air showers with IACTs. Astroparticle Physics, 111:23-34.

Abstract

Muons are copiously produced within hadronic extensive air showers (EAS) occurring in the Earth’s atmosphere, and are used by particle air shower detectors as a means of identifying the primary cosmic ray which initiated the EAS. Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs), designed for the detection of γ-ray initiated EAS for the purposes of Very High Energy (VHE) γ-ray astronomy, are subject to a considerable background signal due to hadronic EAS. Although hadronic EAS are typically rejected for γ-ray analysis purposes, single muons produced within such showers generate clearly identifiable signals in IACTs and muon images are routinely retained and used for calibration purposes. For IACT arrays operating with a stereoscopic trigger, when a muon triggers one telescope, other telescopes in IACT arrays usually detect the associated hadronic EAS. We demonstrate for the first time the potential of IACT arrays for competitive measurements of the muon content of air showers, their lateral distribution and longitudinal profile of production slant heights in the TeV energy range. Such information can provide useful input to hadronic interaction models.

Abstract

Muons are copiously produced within hadronic extensive air showers (EAS) occurring in the Earth’s atmosphere, and are used by particle air shower detectors as a means of identifying the primary cosmic ray which initiated the EAS. Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs), designed for the detection of γ-ray initiated EAS for the purposes of Very High Energy (VHE) γ-ray astronomy, are subject to a considerable background signal due to hadronic EAS. Although hadronic EAS are typically rejected for γ-ray analysis purposes, single muons produced within such showers generate clearly identifiable signals in IACTs and muon images are routinely retained and used for calibration purposes. For IACT arrays operating with a stereoscopic trigger, when a muon triggers one telescope, other telescopes in IACT arrays usually detect the associated hadronic EAS. We demonstrate for the first time the potential of IACT arrays for competitive measurements of the muon content of air showers, their lateral distribution and longitudinal profile of production slant heights in the TeV energy range. Such information can provide useful input to hadronic interaction models.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Astronomy and Astrophysics
Language:English
Date:1 September 2019
Deposited On:22 May 2019 12:19
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0927-6505
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.astropartphys.2019.03.005

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