skip to main content

Title: Experimental tests of sub-surface reflectors as an explanation for the ANITA anomalous events
Abstract The balloon-borne ANITA [1] experiment is designed to detect ultra-high energy neutrinos via radio emissions produced by in-ice showers. Although initially purposed for interactions within the Antarctic ice sheet, ANITA also demonstrated the ability to self-trigger on radio emissions from ultra-high energy charged cosmic rays [2] (CR) interacting in the Earth's atmosphere. For showers produced above the Antarctic ice sheet, reflection of the down-coming radio signals at the Antarctic surface should result in a polarity inversion prior to subsequent observation at the ∼35–40 km altitude ANITA gondola. Based on data taken during the ANITA-1 and ANITA-3 flights, ANITA published two anomalous instances of upcoming cosmic-rays with measured polarity opposite the remaining sample of ∼50 UHECR signals [3, 4]. The steep observed upwards incidence angles (25–30 degrees relative to the horizontal) require non-Standard Model physics if these events are due to in-ice neutrino interactions, as the Standard Model cross-section would otherwise prohibit neutrinos from penetrating the long required chord of Earth. Shoemaker et al. [5] posit that glaciological effects may explain the steep observed anomalous events. We herein consider the scenarios offered by Shoemaker et al. and find them to be disfavored by extant ANITA and HiCal experimental data. We note that the recent more » report of four additional near-horizon anomalous ANITA-4 events [6], at >3σ significance, are incompatible with their model, which requires significant signal transmission into the ice. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Ultra-high-energy (UHE) photons are an important tool for studying the high-energy Universe. A plausible source of photons with exa-eV (EeV) energy is provided by UHE cosmic rays (UHECRs) undergoing the Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin process (Greisen 1966; Zatsepin & Kuzmin 1966) or pair production process (Blumenthal 1970) on a cosmic background radiation. In this context, the EeV photons can be a probe of both UHECR mass composition and the distribution of their sources (Gelmini, Kalashev & Semikoz 2008; Hooper, Taylor & Sarkar 2011). At the same time, the possible flux of photons produced by UHE protons in the vicinity of their sources by pion photoproduction or inelastic nuclear collisions would be noticeable only for relatively near sources, as the attenuation length of UHE photons is smaller than that of UHE protons; see, for example, Bhattacharjee & Sigl (2000) for a review. There also exists a class of so-called top-down models of UHECR generation that efficiently produce the UHE photons, for instance by the decay of heavy dark-matter particles (Berezinsky, Kachelriess & Vilenkin 1997; Kuzmin & Rubakov 1998) or by the radiation from cosmic strings (Berezinsky, Blasi & Vilenkin 1998). The search for the UHE photons was shown to be the most sensitive methodmore »of indirect detection of heavy dark matter (Kalashev & Kuznetsov 2016, 2017; Kuznetsov 2017; Kachelriess, Kalashev & Kuznetsov 2018; Alcantara, Anchordoqui & Soriano 2019). Another fundamental physics scenario that could be tested with UHE photons (Fairbairn, Rashba & Troitsky 2011) is the photon mixing with axion-like particles (Raffelt & Stodolsky 1988), which could be responsible for the correlation of UHECR events with BL Lac type objects observed by the High Resolution Fly’s Eye (HiRes) experiment (Gorbunov et al. 2004; Abbasi et al. 2006). In most of these scenarios, a clustering of photon arrival directions, rather than diffuse distribution, is expected, so point-source searches can be a suitable test for photon - axion-like particle mixing models. Finally, UHE photons could also be used as a probe for the models of Lorentz-invariance violation (Coleman & Glashow 1999; Galaverni & Sigl 2008; Maccione, Liberati & Sigl 2010; Rubtsov, Satunin & Sibiryakov 2012, 2014). The Telescope Array (TA; Tokuno et al. 2012; Abu-Zayyad et al. 2013c) is the largest cosmic ray experiment in the Northern Hemisphere. It is located at 39.3° N, 112.9° W in Utah, USA. The observatory includes a surface detector array (SD) and 38 fluorescence telescopes grouped into three stations. The SD consists of 507 stations that contain plastic scintillators, each with an area of 3 m2 (SD stations). The stations are placed in the square grid with 1.2 km spacing and cover an area of ∼700 km2. The TA SD is capable of detecting extensive air showers (EASs) in the atmosphere caused by cosmic particles of EeV and higher energies. The TA SD has been operating since 2008 May. A hadron-induced EAS significantly differs from an EAS induced by a photon because the depth of the shower maximum Xmax for a photon shower is larger, and a photon shower contains fewer muons and has a more curved front (see Risse & Homola 2007 for a review). The TA SD stations are sensitive to both muon and electromagnetic components of the shower and therefore can be triggered by both hadron-induced and photon-induced EAS events. In the present study, we use 9 yr of TA SD data for a blind search for point sources of UHE photons. We utilize the statistics of the SD data, which benefit from a high duty cycle. The full Monte Carlo (MC) simulation of proton-induced and photon-induced EAS events allows us to perform the photon search up to the highest accessible energies, E ≳ 1020 eV. As the main tool for the present photon search, we use a multivariate analysis based on a number of SD parameters that make it possible to distinguish between photon and hadron primaries. While searches for diffuse UHE photons were performed by several EAS experiments, including Haverah Park (Ave et al. 2000), AGASA (Shinozaki et al. 2002; Risse et al. 2005), Yakutsk (Rubtsov et al. 2006; Glushkov et al. 2007, 2010), Pierre Auger (Abraham et al. 2007, 2008a; Bleve 2016; Aab et al. 2017c) and TA (Abu-Zayyad et al. 2013b; Abbasi et al. 2019a), the search for point sources of UHE photons has been done only by the Pierre Auger Observatory (Aab et al. 2014, 2017a). The latter searches were based on hybrid data and were limited to the 1017.3 < E < 1018.5 eV energy range. In the present paper, we use the TA SD data alone. We perform the searches in five energy ranges: E > 1018, E > 1018.5, E > 1019, E > 1019.5 and E > 1020 eV. We find no significant evidence of photon point sources in all energy ranges and we set the point-source flux upper limits from each direction in the TA field of view (FOV). The search for unspecified neutral particles was also previously performed by the TA (Abbasi et al. 2015). The limit on the point-source flux of neutral particles obtained in that work is close to the present photon point-source flux limits.« less
  2. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory opened the window on high-energy neutrino astronomy by confirming the existence of PeV astrophysical neutrinos and identifying the first compelling astrophysical neutrino source in the blazar TXS0506+056. Planning is underway to build an enlarged detector, IceCube-Gen2, which will extend measurements to higher energies, increase the rate of observed cosmic neutrinos and provide improved prospects for detecting fainter sources. IceCube-Gen2 is planned to have an extended in-ice optical array, a radio array at shallower depths for detecting ultra-high-energy (>100 PeV) neutrinos, and a surface component studying cosmic rays. In this contribution, we will discuss the simulation of the in-ice optical component of the baseline design of the IceCube-Gen2 detector, which foresees the deployment of an additional ~120 new detection strings to the existing 86 in IceCube over ~7 Antarctic summer seasons. Motivated by the phased construction plan for IceCube-Gen2, we discuss how the reconstruction capabilities and sensitivities of the instrument are expected to progress throughout its deployment.
  3. The Beamforming Elevated Array for COsmic Neutrinos (BEACON) is a concept for a neutrino telescope designed to measure tau lepton air showers generated from tau neutrino interactions near the horizon. This detection mechanism provides a pure measurement of the tau flavor of cosmogenic neutrinos, which could be used to set limits on the observed flavor ratios for cosmogenic neutrinos in a manner complimentary to the all-flavor neutrino flux measurements made by other experiments. BEACON is expected to also be capable of detecting cosmic rays through RF-only triggers. BEACON aims to achieve this sensitivity by using mountaintop radio arrays of dual-polarized antennas operating in the 30-80 MHz band which utilize directional interferometric triggering. BEACON stations are designed to efficiently use a small amount of instrumentation, allowing for deployment in a variety of high-elevation sites. The interferometric trigger provides a natural tool for directional-based anthropogenic RFI rejection at the trigger level, broadening the list for potential station sites. The BEACON prototype has seen continuous design advancements towards improving the mechanical durability and scientific capabilities since its initial deployment at White Mountain Research Station in 2018. Here we present the current prototype’s sensitivity to RF-triggered cosmic-ray background signals. We also present the nextmore »generation prototype, which includes scintillating cosmic ray detectors, improved antennas, and refined calibration techniques.« less
  4. When Earth-skimming tau neutrinos interact within the Earth, they generate upgoing tau leptons that can decay in the atmosphere, forming extensive air showers. The Beamforming Elevated Array for COsmic Neutrinos (BEACON) is a novel detector concept that utilizes a radio interferometer atop a mountain to search for the radio emission due to these extensive air showers. The prototype, located at the White Mountain Research Station in California, consists of 4 crossed-dipole antennas operating in the 30-80 MHz range and uses a directional interferometric trigger for reduced thresholds and background rejection. The prototype will first be used to detect down-going cosmic rays to validate the detector model. A Monte-Carlo simulation was developed to predict the acceptance of the prototype to cosmic rays, as well as the expected rate of detection. In this simulation, cosmic ray induced air showers with random properties are generated in an area around the prototype array. It is then determined if a given shower triggers the array using radio emission simulations from ZHAireS and antenna modelling from XFdtd. Here, we present the methodology and results of this simulation.
  5. Abstract The IceCube Neutrino Observatory opened the window on neutrino astronomy by discovering high-energy astrophysical neutrinos in 2013 and identifying the first compelling astrophysical neutrino source, the blazar TXS0506 + 056, in 2017. In this proceeding, we will discuss the science reach and ongoing development of the IceCube-Gen2 facility, which is the planned extension to IceCube. IceCube-Gen2 will increase the rate of observed cosmic neutrinos by an order of magnitude, be able to detect five-times fainter neutrino sources, and extend the measurement of astrophysical neutrinos several orders of magnitude higher in energy. We will discuss the envisioned design of the instrument, which will include an enlarged in-ice optical array, a surface array for the study of cosmic-rays, and a shallow radio array to detect ultra-high energy (>100 PeV) neutrinos. We will also highlight ongoing efforts to develop and test new instrumentation for IceCube-Gen2.