Zachary Zundel Thesis Defense 02/11/16

Thesis Defense

Zachary Zundel

Thursday, February 11, 2016
12:20PM (110 INSCC)

Title: Spectrum Measurement with the Telescope Array Low Energy Extension (TALE) Fluorescence Detector

The Telescope Array (TA) experiment is the largest Ultra High Energy cosmic ray observatory in the northern hemisphere and is designed to be sensitive to cosmic rays air showers above 1018eV. Despite the substantial measurements made by TA and AUGER (the largest cosmic ray observatory in the southern hemisphere), there remains uncertainty about whether the highest energy cosmic rays are galactic or extragalactic in origin.

Locating features in the cosmic rays energy spectrum below 1018eV that indicate a transition from galactic to extragalactic sources would clarify the interpretation of measurements made at the highest energies. The Telescope Array Low Energy Extension (TALE) is designed to extend the energy threshold of the TA observatory down to 1016.5eV in order to make such measurements.

This dissertation details the construction, calibration, and operation of the TALE fluorescence detector. A measurement of the flux of cosmic rays in the energy range of 1016.5 - 1018.5eV is made using the monocular data set taken between September 2013 and January 2014. The TALE fluorescence detector observes evidence for a softening of the cosmic spectrum at 1017.25±0.5eV. The evidence of a change in the spectrum motivates continued study of 1016.5 - 1018.5eV cosmic rays.

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