172 research outputs found

    EUSO-SPB1 mission and science

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    International audienceThe Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon 1 (EUSO-SPB1) was launched in 2017 April from Wanaka, New Zealand. The plan of this mission of opportunity on a NASA super pressure balloon test flight was to circle the southern hemisphere. The primary scientific goal was to make the first observations of ultra-high-energy cosmic-ray extensive air showers (EASs) by looking down on the atmosphere with an ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence telescope from suborbital altitude (33 km). After 12 days and 4 h aloft, the flight was terminated prematurely in the Pacific Ocean. Before the flight, the instrument was tested extensively in the West Desert of Utah, USA, with UV point sources and lasers. The test results indicated that the instrument had sensitivity to EASs of ⪆3 EeV. Simulations of the telescope system, telescope on time, and realized flight trajectory predicted an observation of about 1 event assuming clear sky conditions. The effects of high clouds were estimated to reduce this value by approximately a factor of 2. A manual search and a machine-learning-based search did not find any EAS signals in these data. Here we review the EUSO-SPB1 instrument and flight and the EAS search

    Simulation studies for the Mini-EUSO detector

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    Mini-EUSO is a mission of the JEM-EUSO program flying onboard the International Space Station since August 2019. Since the first data acquisition in October 2019, more than 35 sessions have been performed for a total of 52 hours of observations. The detector has been observing Earth at night-time in the UV range and detected a wide variety of transient sources all of which have been modelled through Monte Carlo simulations. Mini-EUSO is also capable of detecting meteors and potentially space debris and we performed simulations for such events to estimate their impact on future missions for cosmic ray science from space. We show here examples of the simulation work done in this framework to analyse the Mini-EUSO data. The expected response of Mini-EUSO with respect to ultra high energy cosmic ray showers has been studied. The efficiency curve of Mini-EUSO as a function of primary energy has been estimated and the energy threshold for Cosmic Rays has been placed to be above 1021^{21} eV. We compared the morphology of several transient events detected during the mission with cosmic ray simulations and excluded that they can be due to cosmic ray showers. To validate the energy threshold of the detector, a system of ground based flashers is being used for end-to-end calibration purposes. We therefore implemented a parameterisation of such flashers into the JEM-EUSO simulation framework and studied the response of the detector with respect to such sources

    An overview of the JEM-EUSO program and results

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    The field of UHECRs (Ultra-High energy cosmic Rays) and the understanding of particle acceleration in the cosmos, as a key ingredient to the behaviour of the most powerful sources in the universe, is of outmost importance for astroparticle physics as well as for fundamental physics and will improve our general understanding of the universe. The current main goals are to identify sources of UHECRs and their composition. For this, increased statistics is required. A space-based detector for UHECR research has the advantage of a very large exposure and a uniform coverage of the celestial sphere. The aim of the JEM-EUSO program is to bring the study of UHECRs to space. The principle of observation is based on the detection of UV light emitted by isotropic Ô¨āuorescence of atmospheric nitrogen excited by the Extensive Air Showers (EAS) in the Earth‚Äôs atmosphere and forward-beamed Cherenkov radiation reÔ¨āected from the Earth‚Äôs surface or dense cloud tops. In addition to the prime objective of UHECR studies, JEM-EUSO will do several secondary studies due to the instruments\u27 unique capacity of detecting very weak UV-signals with extreme time-resolution around 1 microsecond: meteors, Transient Luminous Events (TLE), bioluminescence, maps of human generated UV-light, searches for Strange Quark Matter (SQM) and high-energy neutrinos, and more. The JEM-EUSO program includes several missions from ground (EUSO-TA), from stratospheric balloons (EUSO-Balloon, EUSO-SPB1, EUSO-SPB2), and from space (TUS, Mini-EUSO) employing fluorescence detectors to demonstrate the UHECR observation from space and prepare the large size missions K-EUSO and POEMMA. A review of the current status of the program, the key results obtained so far by the different projects, and the perspectives for the near future are presented

    Science and mission status of EUSO-SPB2

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    The Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon II (EUSO-SPB2) is a second generation stratospheric balloon instrument for the detection of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs, E > 1 EeV) via the fluorescence technique and of Very High Energy (VHE, E > 10 PeV) neutrinos via Cherenkov emission. EUSO-SPB2 is a pathfinder mission for instruments like the proposed Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA). The purpose of such a space-based observatory is to measure UHECRs and UHE neutrinos with high statistics and uniform exposure. EUSO-SPB2 is designed with two Schmidt telescopes, each optimized for their respective observa- tional goals. The Fluorescence Telescope looks at the nadir to measure the fluorescence emission from UHECR-induced extensive air shower (EAS), while the Cherenkov Telescope is optimized for fast signals (‚ąľ10 ns) and points near the Earth‚Äôs limb. This allows for the measurement of Cherenkov light from EAS caused by Earth skimming VHE neutrinos if pointed slightly below the limb or from UHECRs if observing slightly above. The expected launch date of EUSO-SPB2 is Spring 2023 from Wanaka, NZ with target duration of up to 100 days. Such a flight would provide thousands of VHECR Cherenkov signals in addition to tens of UHECR fluorescence tracks. Neither of these kinds of events have been observed from either orbital or suborbital altitudes before, making EUSO-SPB2 crucial to move forward towards a space-based instrument. It will also enhance the understanding of potential background signals for both detection techniques. This contribution will provide a short overview of the detector and the current status of the mission as well as its scientific goals

    Measurement of UV light emission of the nighttime Earth by Mini-EUSO for space-based UHECR observations

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    The JEM-EUSO (Joint Experiment Missions for Extreme Universe Space Observatory) program aims at the realization of the ultra-high energy cosmic ray (UHECR) observation using wide field of view fluorescence detectors in orbit. Ultra-violet (UV) light emission from the atmosphere such as airglow and anthropogenic light on the Earth\u27s surface are the main background for the space-based UHECR observations. The Mini-EUSO mission has been operated on the International Space Station (ISS) since 2019 which is the first space-based experiment for the program. The Mini-EUSO instrument consists of a 25 cm refractive optics and the photo-detector module with the 2304-pixel array of the multi-anode photomultiplier tubes. On the nadir-looking window of the ISS, the instrument is capable of continuously monitoring a ~300 km x 300 km area. In the present work, we report the preliminary result of the measurement of the UV light in the nighttime Earth using the Mini-EUSO data downlinked to the ground. We mapped UV light distribution both locally and globally below the ISS obit. Simulations were also made to characterize the instrument response to diffuse background light. We discuss the impact of such light on space-based UHECR observations and the Mini-EUSO science objectives

    Towards observations of nuclearites in Mini-EUSO

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    Mini-EUSO is a small orbital telescope with a field of view of 44¬į x 44¬į,observing the night-time Earth mostly in 320-420 nm band. Its time resolution spanning from microseconds (triggered) to milliseconds (untriggered) and more than 300√ó300 km of the ground covered, already allowed it to register thousands of meteors. Such detections make the telescope a suitable tool in the search for hypothetical heavy compact objects, which would leave trails of light in the atmosphere due to their high density and speed. The most prominent example are the nuclearites -- hypothetical lumps of strange quark matter that could be stabler and denser than the nuclear matter. In this paper, we show potential limits on the flux of nuclearites after collecting 42 hours of observations data

    Expected Performance of the EUSO-SPB2 Fluorescence Telescope

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    The Extreme Universe Space Observatory Super Pressure Balloon 2 (EUSO-SPB2) is under development, and will prototype instrumentation for future satellite-based missions, including the Probe of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA). EUSO-SPB2 will consist of two telescopes. The first is a Cherenkov telescope (CT) being developed to identify and estimate the background sources for future below-the-limb very high energy (E>10 PeV) astrophysical neutrino observations, as well as above-the-limb cosmic ray induced signals (E>1 PeV). The second is a fluorescence telescope (FT) being developed for detection of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs). In preparation for the expected launch in 2023, extensive simulations tuned by preliminary laboratory measurements have been performed to understand the FT capabilities. The energy threshold has been estimated at 1018.2^{18.2} eV, and results in a maximum detection rate at 1018.6^{18.6} eV when taking into account the shape of the UHECR spectrum. In addition, onboard software has been developed based on the simulations as well as experience with previous EUSO missions. This includes a level 1 trigger to be run on the computationally limited flight hardware, as well as a deep learning based prioritization algorithm in order to accommodate the balloon’s telemetry budget. These techniques could also be used later for future, space-based missions

    EUSO@TurLab project in view of Mini-EUSO and EUSO-SPB2 missions

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    The TurLab facility is a laboratory, equipped with a 5 m diameter and 1 m depth rotating tank, located in the fourth basement level of the Physics Department of the University of Turin. In the past years, we have used the facility to perform experiments related to the observations of Extreme Energy Cosmic Rays (EECRs) from space using the fluorescence technique for JEM-EUSO missions with the main objective to test the response of the trigger logic. In the missions, the diffuse night brightness and artificial and natural light sources can vary significantly in time and space in the Field of View (FoV) of the telescope. Therefore, it is essential to verify the detector performance and test the trigger logic under such an environment. By means of the tank rotation, a various terrestrial surface with the different optical characteristics such as ocean, land, forest, desert and clouds, as well as artificial and natural light sources such as city lights, lightnings and meteors passing by the detector FoV one after the other is reproduced. The fact that the tank is located in a very dark place enables the tests under an optically controlled environment. Using the Mini-EUSO data taken since 2019 onboard the ISS, we will report on the comparison between TurLab and ISS measurements in view of future experiments at TurLab. Moreover, in the forthcoming months we will start testing the trigger logic of the EUSO-SPB2 mission. We report also on the plans and status for this purpose

    Neutrino Target-of-Opportunity Observations with Space-based and Suborbital Optical Cherenkov Detectors

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    Cosmic-ray accelerators capable of reaching ultra-high energies are expected to also produce very-high energy neutrinos via hadronic interactions within the source or its surrounding environment. Many of the candidate astrophysical source classes are either transient in nature or exhibit flaring activity. Using the Earth as a neutrino converter, suborbital and space-based optical Cherenkov detectors, such as POEMMA and EUSO-SPB2, will be able to detect upward-moving extensive air showers induced by decaying tau-leptons generated from cosmic tau neutrinos with energies ‚ąľ10 PeV and above. Both EUSO-SPB2 and POEMMA will be able to quickly repoint, enabling rapid response to astrophysical transient events. We calculate the transient sensitivity and sky coverage for both EUSO-SPB2 and POEMMA, accounting for constraints imposed by the Sun and the Moon on the observation time. We also calculate both detectors\u27 neutrino horizons for a variety of modeled astrophysical neutrino fluences. We find that both EUSO-SPB2 and POEMMA will achieve transient sensitivities at the level of modeled neutrino fluences for nearby sources. We conclude with a discussion of the prospects of each mission detecting at least one transient event for various modeled astrophysical neutrino sources

    EUSO-SPB1 mission and science

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    The Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon 1 (EUSO-SPB1) was launched in 2017 April from Wanaka, New Zealand. The plan of this mission of opportunity on a NASA super pressure balloon test flight was to circle the southern hemisphere. The primary scientific goal was to make the first observations of ultra-high-energy cosmic-ray extensive air showers (EASs) by looking down on the atmosphere with an ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence telescope from suborbital altitude (33 km). After 12 days and 4 h aloft, the flight was terminated prematurely in the Pacific Ocean. Before the flight, the instrument was tested extensively in the West Desert of Utah, USA, with UV point sources and lasers. The test results indicated that the instrument had sensitivity to EASs of ⪆ 3 EeV. Simulations of the telescope system, telescope on time, and realized flight trajectory predicted an observation of about 1 event assuming clear sky conditions. The effects of high clouds were estimated to reduce this value by approximately a factor of 2. A manual search and a machine-learning-based search did not find any EAS signals in these data. Here we review the EUSO-SPB1 instrument and flight and the EAS search
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