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18 October 1996 Maximum-energy Auger-shower satellite (MASS/AIRWATCH)
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Abstract
A concept for observation from space of the highest energy cosmic rays above 1020 eV with a satellite-borne observatory has been considered. A maximum-energy auger (air)-shower satellite (MASS) would use segmented lenses (and/or mirrors) and an array of imaging devices (about 106 pixels) to detect and record fluorescent light profiles of cosmic ray cascades in the atmosphere. The field-of-view of MASS could be extended to about (1000 km)2 so that more than 103 events per year could be observed above 1020 eV. From far above the atmosphere, MASS would be capable of observing events at all angles including near horizontal tracks, and would have considerable aperture for high energy photon and neutrino observation. With a large aperture and the spatial and temporal resolution, MASS could determine the energy spectrum, the mass composition, and arrival anisotropy of cosmic rays from 1020 eV to 1022 eV, a region hitherto not explored by ground-based detectors such as the fly's eye and air-shower arrays. MASS's ability to identify comic neutrinos and gamma rays may help providing evidence for the theory which attributes the above cut-off cosmic ray flux to the decay of topological defects.
© (1996) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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