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The effect of the atmospheric refractive index on the radio signal of extensive air showers
Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Dept Astrophys, IMAPP, POB 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, Netherlands..
Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Dept Astrophys, IMAPP, POB 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, Netherlands..
Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Dept Astrophys, IMAPP, POB 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, Netherlands.;Vrije Univ Brussel, Inst Astrophys, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium..
Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Dept Astrophys, IMAPP, POB 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, Netherlands.;Netherlands Inst Radio Astron ASTRON, Postbus 2, NL-7990 AA Dwingeloo, Netherlands.;Nikhef, Sci Pk Amsterdam, NL-1098 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands.;Max Planck Inst Radioastron, Hugel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany..
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2017 (English)In: Astroparticle physics, ISSN 0927-6505, E-ISSN 1873-2852, Vol. 89, 23-29 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For the interpretation of measurements of radio emission from extensive air showers, an important systematic uncertainty arises from natural variations of the atmospheric refractive index n. At a given altitude, the refractivity N = 10(6) (n - 1) can have relative variations on the order of 10% depending on temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Typical corrections to be applied to N are about 4%. Using CoREAS simulations of radio emission from air showers, we have evaluated the effect of varying N on measurements of the depth of shower maximum X-max. For an observation band of 30-80 MHz, a difference of 4% in refractivity gives rise to a systematic error in the inferred X-max between 3.5 and 11 g/cm(2), for proton showers with zenith angles ranging from 15 to 50 degrees. At higher frequencies, from 120 to 250 MHz, the offset ranges from 10 to 22 g/cm(2). These offsets were found to be proportional to the geometric distance to X-max. We have compared the results to a simple model based on the Cherenkov angle. For the 120-250 MHz band, the model is in qualitative agreement with the simulations. In typical circumstances, we find a slight decrease in X-max compared to the default refractivity treatment in CoREAS. While this is within commonly treated systematic uncertainties, accounting for it explicitly improves the accuracy of X-max measurements. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 89, 23-29 p.
Keyword [en]
Cosmic rays, Extensive air showers, Radio emission, Atmospheric effects
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics, Astroparticle Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-64215DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2017.01.009ISI: 000395614500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-64215DiVA: diva2:1098123
Available from: 2017-05-23 Created: 2017-05-23 Last updated: 2017-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Thoudam, Satyendra
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Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering
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CiteExportLink to record
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