Observing ultra-high energy cosmic rays with prototypes of Fluorescence detector Array of Single-pixel Telescopes (FAST) in both hemispheres
July 22, 2019
The origin and nature of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) are hot topics in the astroparticle physics community. The Fluorescence detector Array of Single-pixel Telescopes (FAST) is a design for a next-generation ground-based UHECR observatory, addressing the requirements for a large-area, low-cost detector suitable for measuring the properties of the highest energy cosmic rays with an unprecedented aperture. We have developed a full-scale prototype consisting of four 200 mm photomultiplier tubes at the focus of a segmented mirror of 1.6 m in diameter. Over the last three years, we have installed three prototypes at the Telescope Array Experiment in Utah, USA. These telescopes have been steadily taking data since installation. We report on preliminary results of the full-scale FAST prototypes, including measurements of UHECRs, and distant ultraviolet lasers used to study the atmospheric transparency. Furthermore, we discuss the installation of an additional identical FAST prototype at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Possible benefits to the Telescope Array Experiment and the Pierre Auger Observatory include a comparison of the transparency of the atmosphere above both experiments, a study of the systematic uncertainty associated with their existing fluorescence detectors, and a cross-calibration of their energy and Xmax scales.
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