Outreach, Investigation, Muons, and the South Atlantic Anomaly
2019 July 22
In May of 2018 and January of 2019, a collaborative group from the University of Notre Dame in the United States and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Masterclass Institutes Collaborating in the Americas IV (MICA IV), travelled south from Santiago, Chile with two overlapping goals. The first was to take cosmic ray data at different latitudes to test for any effect on cosmic ray rate due to the South Atlantic Anomaly, a geomagnetic deflection which extends in the Southern Hemisphere from Southern Africa all the way to Chile. The second goal was to give students and teachers workshop experiences in particle physics, including cosmic ray studies. In May, the collaborators used two QuarkNet cosmic ray detectors in the workshops for both education and as part of the investigation. In January, a return trip focused on taking better data with one of the detectors, while the other took data near-continuously in Santiago. Collaborators in the U.S. and Mexico took additional data to help calibrate the Chilean data. We discuss results of both outreach and investigation.