A New View on Auger Data and Cosmogenic Neutrinos in Light of Different Nuclear Disintegration and Air-shower Models
July 22, 2019
We study the implications of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Ray (UHECR) data from the Pierre Auger Observatory for potential accelerator candidates and cosmogenic neutrino fluxes for combinations of nuclear disintegration and air-shower models. We exploit the most recently published spectral and mass composition data (2017) with a new, computationally efficient simulation code PriNCe. We extend a systematic framework, which has been previously applied in a combined fit by the Pierre Auger Collaboration, with the cosmological source evolution as an additional free parameter. In this framework, an ensemble of generalized UHECR accelerators is characterized by a universal spectral index (equal for all injection species), a maximal rigidity, and the normalizations for five nuclear element groups. We find that the 2017 data favor a small but constrained contribution of heavy elements (iron) at the source. We demonstrate that the results moderately depend on the nuclear disintegration (PSB, Peanut, or Talys) model, and more strongly on the air-shower (EPOS-LHC, Sibyll-2.3, or QGSjet-II-04) model. Variations of these models result in different source evolutions and spectral indices, limiting the interpretation in terms of a particular class of cosmic accelerators. Better constrained parameters include the maximal rigidity and the mass composition at the source. Hence, the cosmogenic neutrino flux can be robustly predicted. Depending on the source evolution at high redshifts the flux is likely out of reach of future neutrino observatories in most cases, and a minimal cosmogenic neutrino flux cannot be claimed from data without assuming a cosmological distribution of the sources
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