96 research outputs found

    A tau scenario application to a search for upward-going showers with the Fluorescence Detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    A search for ultra-high-energy photons at the Pierre Auger Observatory exploiting air-shower universality

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    The Pierre Auger Observatory is the most sensitive detector to primary photons with energies above ‚ąľ0.2 EeV. It measures extensive air showers using a hybrid technique that combines a fluorescence detector (FD) with a ground array of particle detectors (SD). The signatures of a photon-induced air shower are a larger atmospheric depth at the shower maximum (Xmax_{max}) and a steeper lateral distribution function, along with a lower number of muons with respect to the bulk of hadron-induced background. Using observables measured by the FD and SD, three photon searches in different energy bands are performed. In particular, between threshold energies of 1-10 EeV, a new analysis technique has been developed by combining the FD-based measurement of Xmax_{max} with the SD signal through a parameter related to its muon content, derived from the universality of the air showers. This technique has led to a better photon/hadron separation and, consequently, to a higher search sensitivity, resulting in a tighter upper limit than before. The outcome of this new analysis is presented here, along with previous results in the energy ranges below 1 EeV and above 10 EeV. From the data collected by the Pierre Auger Observatory in about 15 years of operation, the most stringent constraints on the fraction of photons in the cosmic flux are set over almost three decades in energy

    Study on multi-ELVES in the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    Since 2013, the four sites of the Fluorescence Detector (FD) of the Pierre Auger Observatory record ELVES with a dedicated trigger. These UV light emissions are correlated to distant lightning strikes. The length of recorded traces has been increased from 100 őľs (2013), to 300 őľs (2014-16), to 900 őľs (2017-present), to progressively extend the observation of the light emission towards the vertical of the causative lightning and beyond. A large fraction of the observed events shows double ELVES within the time window, and, in some cases, even more complex structures are observed. The nature of the multi-ELVES is not completely understood but may be related to the different types of lightning in which they are originated. For example, it is known that Narrow Bipolar Events can produce double ELVES, and Energetic In-cloud Pulses, occurring between the main negative and upper positive charge layer of clouds, can induce double and even quadruple ELVES in the ionosphere. This report shows the seasonal and daily dependence of the time gap, amplitude ratio, and correlation between the pulse widths of the peaks in a sample of 1000+ multi-ELVES events recorded during the period 2014-20. The events have been compared with data from other satellite and ground-based sensing devices to study the correlation of their properties with lightning observables such as altitude and polarity

    Studies of the mass composition of cosmic rays and proton-proton interaction cross-sections at ultra-high energies with the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    In this work, we present an estimate of the cosmic-ray mass composition from the distributions of the depth of the shower maximum (Xmax) measured by the fluorescence detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory. We discuss the sensitivity of the mass composition measurements to the uncertainties in the properties of the hadronic interactions, particularly in the predictions of the particle interaction cross-sections. For this purpose, we adjust the fractions of cosmic-ray mass groups to fit the data with Xmax distributions from air shower simulations. We modify the proton-proton cross-sections at ultra-high energies, and the corresponding air shower simulations with rescaled nucleus-air cross-sections are obtained via Glauber theory. We compare the energy-dependent composition of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays obtained for the different extrapolations of the proton-proton cross-sections from low-energy accelerator data

    Study of downward Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes with the surface detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    The surface detector (SD) of the Pierre Auger Observatory, consisting of 1660 water-Cherenkov detectors (WCDs), covers 3000 km2 in the Argentinian pampa. Thanks to the high efficiency of WCDs in detecting gamma rays, it represents a unique instrument for studying downward Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) over a large area. Peculiar events, likely related to downward TGFs, were detected at the Auger Observatory. Their experimental signature and time evolution are very different from those of a shower produced by an ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray. They happen in coincidence with low thunderclouds and lightning, and their large deposited energy at the ground is compatible with that of a standard downward TGF with the source a few kilometers above the ground. A new trigger algorithm to increase the TGF-like event statistics was installed in the whole array. The study of the performance of the new trigger system during the lightning season is ongoing and will provide a handle to develop improved algorithms to implement in the Auger upgraded electronic boards. The available data sample, even if small, can give important clues about the TGF production models, in particular, the shape of WCD signals. Moreover, the SD allows us to observe more than one point in the TGF beam, providing information on the emission angle

    First results from the AugerPrime Radio Detector

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    Update of the Offline Framework for AugerPrime

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    Combined fit to the spectrum and composition data measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory including magnetic horizon effects

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    The measurements by the Pierre Auger Observatory of the energy spectrum and mass composition of cosmic rays can be interpreted assuming the presence of two extragalactic source populations, one dominating the flux at energies above a few EeV and the other below. To fit the data ignoring magnetic field effects, the high-energy population needs to accelerate a mixture of nuclei with very hard spectra, at odds with the approximate E‚ąí2^{-2} shape expected from diffusive shock acceleration. The presence of turbulent extragalactic magnetic fields in the region between the closest sources and the Earth can significantly modify the observed CR spectrum with respect to that emitted by the sources, reducing the flux of low-rigidity particles that reach the Earth. We here take into account this magnetic horizon effect in the combined fit of the spectrum and shower depth distributions, exploring the possibility that a spectrum for the high-energy population sources with a shape closer to E‚ąí2^{-2} be able to explain the observations

    Extraction of the Muon Signals Recorded with the Surface Detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory Using Recurrent Neural Networks

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    We present a method based on the use of Recurrent Neural Networks to extract the muon component from the time traces registered with water-Cherenkov detector (WCD) stations of the Surface Detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory. The design of the WCDs does not allow to separate the contribution of muons to the time traces obtained from the WCDs from those of photons, electrons and positrons for all events. Separating the muon and electromagnetic components is crucial for the determination of the nature of the primary cosmic rays and properties of the hadronic interactions at ultra-high energies. We trained a neural network to extract the muon and the electromagnetic components from the WCD traces using a large set of simulated air showers, with around 450 000 simulated events. For training and evaluating the performance of the neural network, simulated events with energies between 1018.5, eV and 1020 eV and zenith angles below 60 degrees were used. We also study the performance of this method on experimental data of the Pierre Auger Observatory and show that our predicted muon lateral distributions agree with the parameterizations obtained by the AGASA collaboration

    Outreach activities at the Pierre Auger Observatory

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