HAWC measurements of the energy spectra of cosmic ray protons, helium and heavy nuclei in the TeV range
July 30, 2021
Current knowledge of the relative abundances and the energy spectra of the elemental mass groups of cosmic rays in the 10 TeV - 1 PeV interval are uncertain. This situation prevents carrying out precision tests that may lead to distinguish among the existing hypotheses on the origin and propagation of TeV cosmic rays in the galaxy. In order to learn more about the mass composition of these particles, we have employed HAWC data from hadron induced air showers in order to determine the spectra of three mass groups of cosmic rays: protons, helium and heavy nuclei with Z > 2. The energy spectra were estimated by using the Gold unfolding technique on the 2D distribution of the lateral shower age against the estimated primary energy of events with arrival zenith angles smaller than 45 degrees. The study was carried out based on simulations using the QGSJET-II-04 model. Results are presented for primary cosmic-ray energies from 10 TeV to 251 TeV. They reveal that the aforementioned cosmic ray spectra exhibit fine structures within the above primary energy range.
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