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Type: Journal article
Title: The sensitivity of the next generation of lunar Cherenkov observations to UHE neutrinos and cosmic rays
Author: James, C.
Protheroe, R.
Citation: Astroparticle Physics, 2009; 30(6):318-332
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0927-6505
Abstract: We present simulation results for the detection of ultra-high energy (UHE) cosmic ray (CR) and neutrino interactions in the Moon by radio-telescopes. We simulate the expected radio signal at Earth from such interactions, expanding on previous work to include interactions in the sub-regolith layer for single dish and multiple telescope systems. For previous experiments at Parkes, Goldstone (GLUE), and Kalyazin we recalculate the sensitivity to an isotropic flux of UHE neutrinos. We find the published sensitivity for the GLUE experiment to be too high (too optimistic) by an order of magnitude, and consequently the GLUE limit to be too low by an order of magnitude. Our predicted sensitivity for future experiments using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) indicate these instruments will be able to detect the more optimistic UHE neutrino flux predictions, while the square kilometre array (SKA) will also be sensitive to all bar one prediction of a diffuse ‘cosmogenic’, or ‘GZK’, neutrino flux. Outstanding theoretical uncertainties at both high-frequency and low-frequency limits currently prevent a reliable estimate of the sensitivity of the lunar Cherenkov technique for UHE cosmic ray (CR) astronomy. Here, we place limits on the effects of large-scale surface roughness on UHE CR detection, and find that when near-surface ‘formation-zone’ effects are ignored, the proposed SKA low-frequency aperture array could detect CR events above 56 EeV at a rate between 15 and 40 times that of the current Pierre Auger Observatory. Should further work indicate that formation-zone effects have little impact on UHE CR sensitivity, observations of the Moon with the SKA would allow directional analysis of UHE cosmic rays, and investigation of correlations with putative cosmic ray source populations, to be conducted with very high statistics.
Keywords: UHE neutrino detection
UHE cosmic ray detection
Coherent radio emission
Lunar Cherenkov technique
UHE neutrino flux limits
Description: Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2008.10.007
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