We report on a measurement of the cosmic ray energy spectrum by the Telescope Array Low-Energy Extension (TALE) air fluorescence detector (FD). The TALE air FD is also sensitive to the Cherenkov light produced by shower particles. Low-energy cosmic rays, in the PeV energy range, are detectable by TALE as Cherenkov events. Using these events, we measure the energy spectrum from a low energy of ∼2 PeV to an energy greater than 100 PeV. Above 100 PeV, TALE can detect cosmic rays using air fluorescence. This allows for the extension of the measurement to energies greater than a few EeV. In this paper, we describe the detector, explain the technique, and present results from a measurement of the spectrum using ∼1000 hr of observation. The observed spectrum shows a clear steepening near 1017.1 eV, along with an ankle-like structure at 1016.2 eV. These features present important constraints on the origin of galactic cosmic rays and on propagation models. The feature at 1017.1 eV may also mark the end of the galactic cosmic ray flux and the start of the transition to extragalactic sources.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Telescope Array experiment is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) through Grants-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research JP21000002, for Scientific Research (S) JP19104006, for Specially Promoted Research JP15H05693, for Scientific Research (S) JP15H05741 and for Young Scientists (A) JPH26707011; by the joint research program of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR), The University of Tokyo; by the U.S. National Science Foundation awards PHY-0601915, PHY-1404495, PHY-1404502, and PHY-1607727; by the National Research Foundation of Korea (2015R1A2A1A01006870, 2015R1A2A1A15055344, 2016R1A5A1013277, 2007-0093860, 2016R1A2B4014967); by the Russian Academy of Sciences, RFBR grant 16-02-00962a (INR), IISN project No. 4.4502.13, and Belgian Science Policy under IUAP VII/37 (ULB). The foundations of Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke, Willard L. Eccles, and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles all helped with generous donations. The State of Utah supported the project through its Economic Development Board, and the University of Utah through the Office of the Vice President for Research. The experimental site became available through the cooperation of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Air Force. We appreciate the assistance of the State of Utah and Fillmore offices of the BLM in crafting the Plan of Development for the site. Patrick Shea assisted the collaboration with valuable advice on a variety of topics. The people and the officials of Millard County, Utah have been a source of steadfast and warm support for our work, which we greatly appreciate. We are indebted to the Millard County Road Department for their efforts to maintain and clear the roads that get us to our sites. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution from the technical staffs of our home institutions. An allocation of computer time from the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah is gratefully acknowledged.
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science