Radio emission of highly inclined cosmic ray air showers measured with LOPES
SourceAstronomy and Astrophysics, 462, 1, (2007), pp. 389-395
Article / Letter to editor
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Astronomy and Astrophysics
Aims.The capability of radio antenna arrays to measure cosmic ray air showers with very large zenith angles is explored. This is important, since a possible neutrino detection has to fulfill two requirements. First: antennas should be able to detect very inclined cosmic ray air showers, and second: it should be possible to estimate the distance to the shower maximum, since neutrinos are most likely to travel far through the Earth's atmosphere without interaction and induce air showers close to the ground. Methods: LOPES (LOFAR PrototypE Station; LOFAR - LOw Frequency ARray), an array of dipole antennas, is used for the detection of inclined cosmic ray air showers. LOPES is co-located and triggered by the KASCADE (KArlsruhe Shower Core and Array DEtector) experiment, which also provides information on air shower properties such as electron and muon numbers on the ground, as well as the arrival direction. Radio emission of nearly vertical cosmic ray air showers has been detected by LOPES. Results: LOPES-10 (the first phase of LOPES, consisting of 10 antennas) detected a significant number of cosmic ray air showers with a zenith angle larger than 50°, and many of these have very high radio field strengths. The most inclined event that has been detected with LOPES-10 has a zenith angle of almost 80°. This is proof that the new technique is also applicable for cosmic ray air showers with high inclinations, which in the case that they are initiated close to the ground, can be a signature of neutrino events. Conclusions: .Our results indicate that arrays of simple radio antennas can be used for the detection of highly inclined air showers, which might be triggered by neutrinos. In addition, we found that the radio pulse height (normalized with the muon number) for highly inclined events increases with the geomagnetic angle, which confirms the geomagnetic origin of radio emission in cosmic ray air showers.
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