PoS - Proceedings of Science
Volume 444 - 38th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2023) - Cosmic-Ray Physics (Indirect, CRI)
Extensive Air Shower (EAS) Development in the Upper Atmosphere: a unique environment to measure the EAS properties
J. Krizmanic*, J. Mitchell, A. Cummings and F. Garcia
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Pre-published on: August 18, 2023
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The direct observation of the beamed, radio and optical Cherenkov signals from cosmic-ray induced extensive air showers (EAS) viewed above-the-Earth-limb offer a unique environment to study the EAS development in the rarified atmosphere. ANITA has measured the beamed, geomagnetic radio signal from EAS from UHECRs, and upcoming measurements by EUSO-SPB2 will use the beamed, optical Cherenkov signal to measure CRs above approximately 1 PeV. For an observation at 33 km altitude, the horizontal slant depth of the atmosphere corresponds to $\sim$ 300 g/cm$^2$ while the slant depth quickly increases when viewing closer to the limb. The instrument will be in the early part of the EAS development while the distance and the atmospheric absorption depth will be small for X-rays generated by high-energy electron synchrotron radiation. A similar argument can be made for observation of EAS gamma rays. The rarified atmospheric environment where these EAS develop is such that the nuclear interaction length is much larger in distance that the Coulomb scattering length, providing a probe of hadronic interactions. Furthermore, the optical attenuation in for Cherenkov light is minimal, implying that this signal from both the EM bulk of the EAS and that from the muon tail can be both observed as well as the muons themselves. In this paper, we evaluate these disparate EAS signals, radio, optical, HE photon, and particle distributions, and outline the use of these as a tool to measure the EAS and cosmic ray properties in a shower development regime inaccessible to accelerator experiments.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22323/1.444.0524
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