SuperTIGER Ultra-Heavy Galactic Cosmic Ray Atmospheric Propagation Corrections and Uncertainty Analysis
The SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) balloon-borne ultra-heavy galactic cosmic-ray (UHGCR) detector has flown twice in the stratosphere over Antarctica at altitudes up to $\sim$130,000 ft. Corrections for propagating through the last $\sim$0.5\% of the atmosphere are based on those developed for the preceding TIGER instrument. Changes due to nuclear interactions are determined by finding top of the atmosphere (TOA) elemental abundances that yield those measured in the instrument after solving networks of equations for all elements with partial and total charge changing cross sections stepping through fine slabs of material. Varying rates of energy loss in the atmosphere for different elements yield different TOA minimum energies for the acrylic Cherenkov detector threshold ($\sim$350 MeV/nuc). TOA abundances corrected for nuclear interactions for each element are scaled with the fraction of the integral energy spectrum for its TOA minimum energy, using the iron spectrum for the UHGCR. Statistical uncertainties are derived at the TOA by shifting the abundance of each element individually up and down by the measured uncertainty in the instrument and calculating the TOA abundance of that element. Systematic uncertainties previously were estimated by simultaneously shifting the partial and then the total cross sections for all elements up and down by their uncertainties and finding TOA abundances compared to the nominal values. Here we present a plan for a Monte Carlo study of the systematic impact of simultaneously randomly varying atmospheric propagation parameters over many trials to find the normal range of variation in the resulting TOA element abundances. Total and partial charge changing cross sections for each element are individually varied in each sampling.
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