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Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Optics and Lasers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 October 2021) | Viewed by 26332

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Guest Editor
Department of Physics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, I-00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: elementary particle physics; experimental physics; nuclear physics

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: astrophysics; cosmic rays; ionospheric/magnetospheric phenomena; space weather
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cosmic ray spectrum extends over 14 orders of magnitudes in energy and about 12 in intensity.

There are two main classes of cosmic ray detection methods. First, there is the “direct detection” of the primary cosmic rays in space or at high altitude, which includes experiments on stratospheric balloons, satellites or orbiting space stations.
Second, there is the “indirect detection” of secondary particles, namely, the extensive air showers produced by a primary cosmic rays entering the atmosphere; in this case, it is possible to detect on ground secondary particles forming extensive air showers or the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the showers in the atmosphere.
Usually, these two methods are employed to investigate the cosmic ray spectrum at low and extremely high energies, respectively, the former presenting a stricter relation to phenomena closer to Earth, such as solar activity, and the latter having a farther (galactic or extragalactic) origin. In any case, whatever their source may be, both have had and continue to have effects on a vast number of human activities. 
The last few decades have seen a flourishing of new techniques applied to space science, with experiments taking center stage in the unveiling of the properties of cosmic radiation at low and high energy, and to ground experiments with combined hybrid techniques that have allowed investigating a plethora of phenomena—many of which are not well understood yet—affecting the lower portion of the energy spectrum, as well as capturing the rarest and most puzzling high-energy cosmic rays.
In this Special Issue, we invite submissions exploring the development of technology built for measuring the cosmic ray flux in different energy regimes, possibly highlighting how such technologies would help in studying, understanding and—hopefully in some cases—forecasting cosmic ray variations on multiple time-scales. Contributions can focus on platforms, detectors, algorithms, models, techniques or integrated monitoring systems. Survey papers and reviews are also welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Roberta Sparvoli
Dr. Matteo Martucci
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • cosmic rays
  • particle detectors
  • space instrumentation
  • extensive air-showers
  • high-energy physics
  • ground detectors
  • heliosphere
  • magnetosphere

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 167 KiB  
Editorial
Advances in the Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities
by Roberta Sparvoli and Matteo Martucci
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 3459; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12073459 - 29 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1158
Abstract
It is well known that the galactic cosmic-ray spectrum extends over 14 orders of magnitudes in energy and about 12 in intensity, and the detection methods can be divided into two classes [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

25 pages, 2342 KiB  
Article
Measurement of Energy Spectrum and Elemental Composition of PeV Cosmic Rays: Open Problems and Prospects
by Giuseppe Di Sciascio
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12020705 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2555
Abstract
Cosmic rays represent one of the most important energy transformation processes of the universe. They bring information about the surrounding universe, our galaxy, and very probably also the extragalactic space, at least at the highest observed energies. More than one century after their [...] Read more.
Cosmic rays represent one of the most important energy transformation processes of the universe. They bring information about the surrounding universe, our galaxy, and very probably also the extragalactic space, at least at the highest observed energies. More than one century after their discovery, we have no definitive models yet about the origin, acceleration and propagation processes of the radiation. The main reason is that there are still significant discrepancies among the results obtained by different experiments located at ground level, probably due to unknown systematic uncertainties affecting the measurements. In this document, we will focus on the detection of galactic cosmic rays from ground with air shower arrays up to 1018 eV. The aim of this paper is to discuss the conflicting results in the 1015 eV energy range and the perspectives to clarify the origin of the so-called ‘knee’ in the all-particle energy spectrum, crucial to give a solid basis for models up to the end of the cosmic ray spectrum. We will provide elements useful to understand the basic techniques used in reconstructing primary particle characteristics (energy, mass, and arrival direction) from the ground, and to show why indirect measurements are difficult and results are still conflicting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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10 pages, 1094 KiB  
Article
Direct Measurements of Cosmic Rays (TeV and beyond) Using an Ultrathin Calorimeter: Lessening Fluctuation Method
by Igor Lebedev, Anastasia Fedosimova, Andrey Mayorov, Pavel Krassovitskiy, Elena Dmitriyeva, Sayora Ibraimova and Ekaterina Bondar
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11189; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311189 - 25 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
In this paper, we propose a method that makes it possible to use an ultrathin calorimeter for direct measurements of cosmic rays with energies of TeV and higher. The problems of determining the primary energy with a thin calorimeter, due to large fluctuations [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose a method that makes it possible to use an ultrathin calorimeter for direct measurements of cosmic rays with energies of TeV and higher. The problems of determining the primary energy with a thin calorimeter, due to large fluctuations in shower development, the low statistics of analyzed events and the large size required for the calorimeter, are considered in detail. A solution to these problems is proposed on the basis of a lessening fluctuation method. This method is based on the assumption of the universality of the development of cascades initiated by particles of the same energy and mass. For energy reconstruction, so-called correlation curves are used. The main analyzed quantities are the size of the cascade and the rate of its development. The method was tested using the calorimeter of the PAMELA collaboration. Based on simulations, it is shown that the primary energy can be determined on the ascending branch of the cascade curve. This fact solves the problems associated with the need to increase the calorimeter thickness with an increase in primary energy and with the limitation of the analyzed events. The proposed technique is universal for different energies and different nuclei. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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8 pages, 580 KiB  
Article
Simulation and Evaluation of the Radiation Dose Deposited in Human Tissues by Atmospheric Neutrons
by Ernesto Ortiz, Blanca Mendoza, Carlos Gay, Victor Manuel Mendoza, Marni Pazos and Rene Garduño
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(18), 8338; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11188338 - 9 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1786
Abstract
The evaluation of the radiation dose (RD) deposited by atmospheric neutrons in human tissues is of vital importance due to the potential damages that over exposure to this radiation may cause to human health. The goal of this work was to obtain the [...] Read more.
The evaluation of the radiation dose (RD) deposited by atmospheric neutrons in human tissues is of vital importance due to the potential damages that over exposure to this radiation may cause to human health. The goal of this work was to obtain the RD that atmospheric neutrons with energy from 1 to 1000 MeV deposit in tissues of the human body (blood, adipose, bone and brain) as a function of both altitude and latitude. With the help of the Geant4 software, we developed a numerical simulation that allowed us to reach our goal; atmospheric neutron fluxes were obtained from the Excel-Based Program for Calculating Atmospheric Cosmic-Ray Spectrum (EXPACS). We found that the RD deposited by atmospheric neutrons increases with the increase in altitude and latitude, e.g., for an altitude of high mountain (4 km), the RD is increased ∼19 times; while, for an altitude of commercial flights (10 km), the RD is increased ∼156 times; in both cases, regarding the RD at sea level. We also found that, in the range of energies from 1 to 100 MeV, the RD deposited in the bone tissue sample is considerably lower that the RD deposited in the blood, adipose and brain tissue samples. On the other hand, for the range of energies between 200 and 1000 MeV, the RD deposited in the bone tissue sample is considerably greater that the RD deposited in the blood, adipose and brain tissue samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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10 pages, 3062 KiB  
Article
Investigations of Muon Flux Variations Detected Using Veto Detectors of the Digital Gamma-rays Spectrometer
by Krzysztof Gorzkiewicz, Jerzy W. Mietelski, Zbigniew Ustrnul, Piotr Homola, Renata Kierepko, Ewa Nalichowska and Kamil Brudecki
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(17), 7916; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11177916 - 27 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2190
Abstract
This paper presents the results of cosmic ray muons flux monitoring registered by a digital gamma-ray spectrometer’s active shield made of five large plastic scintillators. In traditional, i.e., analogue active shields working in anticoincidence mode with germanium detectors, the generated data are used [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of cosmic ray muons flux monitoring registered by a digital gamma-ray spectrometer’s active shield made of five large plastic scintillators. In traditional, i.e., analogue active shields working in anticoincidence mode with germanium detectors, the generated data are used only as a gating signal and are not stored. However, thanks to digital acquisition applied in designed novel gamma-ray spectrometers enabling offline studies, it has not only become possible to use generated data to reduce the germanium detector background (cosmic rays veto system) but also to initialize long-term monitoring of the muon flux intensity. Furthermore, various analyses methods prove the relevance of the acquired data. Fourier analyses revealed the presence of daily (24 h), near-monthly (27 days) and over bi-monthly (68 days) cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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15 pages, 1546 KiB  
Article
The August 2018 Geomagnetic Storm Observed by the High-Energy Particle Detector on Board the CSES-01 Satellite
by Francesco Palma, Alessandro Sotgiu, Alexandra Parmentier, Matteo Martucci, Mirko Piersanti, Simona Bartocci, Roberto Battiston, William Jerome Burger, Donatella Campana, Luca Carfora, Guido Castellini, Livio Conti, Andrea Contin, Giulia D’Angelo, Cinzia De Donato, Cristian De Santis, Francesco Maria Follega, Roberto Iuppa, Ignazio Lazzizzera, Nadir Marcelli, Giuseppe Masciantonio, Matteo Mergé, Alberto Oliva, Giuseppe Osteria, Federico Palmonari, Beatrice Panico, Francesco Perfetto, Piergiorgio Picozza, Michele Pozzato, Ester Ricci, Marco Ricci, Sergio Bruno Ricciarini, Zouleikha Sahnoun, Valentina Scotti, Roberta Sparvoli, Vincenzo Vitale, Simona Zoffoli and Paolo Zucconadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5680; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125680 - 19 Jun 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2135
Abstract
On 25 August 2018, a G3-class geomagnetic storm reached the Earth’s magnetosphere, causing a transient rearrangement of the charged particle environment around the planet, which was detected by the High-Energy Particle Detector (HEPD) on board the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES-01). We found that [...] Read more.
On 25 August 2018, a G3-class geomagnetic storm reached the Earth’s magnetosphere, causing a transient rearrangement of the charged particle environment around the planet, which was detected by the High-Energy Particle Detector (HEPD) on board the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES-01). We found that the count rates of electrons in the MeV range were characterized by a depletion during the storm’s main phase and a clear enhancement during the recovery caused by large substorm activity, with the key role played by auroral processes mapped into the outer belt. A post-storm rate increase was localized at L-shells immediately above ∼3 and mostly driven by non-adiabatic local acceleration caused by possible resonant interaction with low-frequency magnetospheric waves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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12 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Low-Pass Filtering Method for Poisson Data Time Series
by Victor Getmanov, Vladislav Chinkin, Roman Sidorov, Alexei Gvishiani, Mikhail Dobrovolsky, Anatoly Soloviev, Anna Dmitrieva, Anna Kovylyaeva, Nataliya Osetrova and Igor Yashin
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4524; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104524 - 15 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
Problems of digital processing of Poisson-distributed data time series from various counters of radiation particles, photons, slow neutrons etc. are relevant for experimental physics and measuring technology. A low-pass filtering method for normalized Poisson-distributed data time series is proposed. A digital quasi-Gaussian filter [...] Read more.
Problems of digital processing of Poisson-distributed data time series from various counters of radiation particles, photons, slow neutrons etc. are relevant for experimental physics and measuring technology. A low-pass filtering method for normalized Poisson-distributed data time series is proposed. A digital quasi-Gaussian filter is designed, with a finite impulse response and non-negative weights. The quasi-Gaussian filter synthesis is implemented using the technology of stochastic global minimization and modification of the annealing simulation algorithm. The results of testing the filtering method and the quasi-Gaussian filter on model and experimental normalized Poisson data from the URAGAN muon hodoscope, that have confirmed their effectiveness, are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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12 pages, 3770 KiB  
Article
Trapped Proton Fluxes Estimation Inside the South Atlantic Anomaly Using the NASA AE9/AP9/SPM Radiation Models along the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite Orbit
by Matteo Martucci, Roberta Sparvoli, Simona Bartocci, Roberto Battiston, William Jerome Burger, Donatella Campana, Luca Carfora, Guido Castellini, Livio Conti, Andrea Contin, Cinzia De Donato, Cristian De Santis, Francesco Maria Follega, Roberto Iuppa, Ignazio Lazzizzera, Nadir Marcelli, Giuseppe Masciantonio, Matteo Mergé, Alberto Oliva, Giuseppe Osteria, Francesco Palma, Federico Palmonari, Beatrice Panico, Alexandra Parmentier, Francesco Perfetto, Piergiorgio Picozza, Mirko Piersanti, Michele Pozzato, Ester Ricci, Marco Ricci, Sergio Bruno Ricciarini, Zouleikha Sahnoun, Valentina Scotti, Alessandro Sotgiu, Vincenzo Vitale, Simona Zoffoli and Paolo Zucconadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3465; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083465 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3452
Abstract
The radiation belts in the Earth’s magnetosphere pose a hazard to satellite systems and spacecraft missions (both manned and unmanned), heavily affecting payload design and resources, thus resulting in an impact on the overall mission performance and final costs. The NASA AE9/AP9/SPM radiation [...] Read more.
The radiation belts in the Earth’s magnetosphere pose a hazard to satellite systems and spacecraft missions (both manned and unmanned), heavily affecting payload design and resources, thus resulting in an impact on the overall mission performance and final costs. The NASA AE9/AP9/SPM radiation models for energetic electrons, protons, and plasma provide useful information on the near-Earth environment, but they are still incomplete as to some features and, for some energy ranges, their predictions are not based on a statistically sufficient sample of direct measurements. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to provide new data and direct measurements to improve their output. In this work, the AP9 model is applied to the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES-01) orbit to estimate the flux of energetic protons over the South Atlantic Anomaly during a short testing period of one day, 1 January 2021. Moreover, a preliminary comparison with proton data obtained from the High-Energy Particle Detector (HEPD) on board CSES-01 is carried out. This estimation will serve as the starting ground for a forthcoming complete data analysis, enabling extensive testing and validation of current theoretical and empirical models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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17 pages, 94713 KiB  
Article
Storm-Time Features of the Ionospheric ELF/VLF Waves and Energetic Electron Fluxes Revealed by the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite
by Zeren Zhima, Yunpeng Hu, Xuhui Shen, Wei Chu, Mirko Piersanti, Alexandra Parmentier, Zhenxia Zhang, Qiao Wang, Jianping Huang, Shufan Zhao, Yanyan Yang, Dehe Yang, Xiaoying Sun, Qiao Tan, Na Zhou and Feng Guo
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 2617; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11062617 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2688
Abstract
This study reports the temporal and spatial distributions of the extremely/very low frequency (ELF/VLF) wave activities and the energetic electron fluxes in the ionosphere during an intense storm (geomagnetic activity index Dst of approximately −174 nT) that occurred on 26 August 2018, based [...] Read more.
This study reports the temporal and spatial distributions of the extremely/very low frequency (ELF/VLF) wave activities and the energetic electron fluxes in the ionosphere during an intense storm (geomagnetic activity index Dst of approximately −174 nT) that occurred on 26 August 2018, based on the observations by a set of detectors onboard the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES). A good correlation of the ionospheric ELF/VLF wave activities with energetic electron precipitations during the various storm evolution phases was revealed. The strongest ELF/VLF emissions at a broad frequency band extending up to 20 kHz occurred from the near-end main phase to the early recovery phase of the storm, while the wave activities mainly appeared at the frequency range below 6 kHz during other phases. Variations in the precipitating fluxes were also spotted in correspondence with changing geomagnetic activity, with the max values primarily appearing outside of the plasmapause during active conditions. The energetic electrons at energies below 1.5 MeV got strong enhancements during the whole storm time on both the day and night side. Examinations of the half-orbit data showed that under the quiet condition, the CSES was able to depict the outer/inner radiation belt as well as the slot region well, whereas under disturbed conditions, such regions became less sharply defined. The regions poleward from geomagnetic latitudes over 50° were found to host the most robust electron precipitation regardless of the quiet or active conditions, and in the equatorward regions below 30°, flux enhancements were mainly observed during storm time and only occasionally in quiet time. The nightside ionosphere also showed remarkable temporal variability along with the storm evolution process but with relatively weaker wave activities and similar level of fluxes enhancement compared to the ones in the dayside ionosphere. The ELF/VLF whistler-mode waves recorded by the CSES mainly included structure-less VLF waves, structured VLF quasi-periodic emissions, and structure-less ELF hiss waves. A wave vector analysis showed that during storm time, these ELF/VLF whistler-mode waves obliquely propagated, mostly likely from the radiation belt toward the Earth direction. We suggest that energetic electrons in the high latitude ionosphere are most likely transported from the outer radiation belt as a consequence of their interactions with ELF/VLF waves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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11 pages, 427 KiB  
Article
Determination of Zenith Angle Dependence of Incoherent Cosmic Ray Muon Flux Using Smartphones of the CREDO Project
by Michał Karbowiak, Tadeusz Wibig, David Alvarez Castillo, Dmitriy Beznosko, Alan R. Duffy, Dariusz Góra, Piotr Homola, Marcin Kasztelan and Michał Niedźwiecki
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031185 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3483
Abstract
The Cosmic-Ray Extremely Distributed Observatory (CREDO) was established to detect and study ultra high-energy cosmic ray particles. In addition to making use of traditional methods for finding rare and extended cosmic ray events such as professional-grade Extensive Air Shower (EAS) arrays, as well [...] Read more.
The Cosmic-Ray Extremely Distributed Observatory (CREDO) was established to detect and study ultra high-energy cosmic ray particles. In addition to making use of traditional methods for finding rare and extended cosmic ray events such as professional-grade Extensive Air Shower (EAS) arrays, as well as educational ‘class-room’ detectors, CREDO also makes use of cameras in smartphones as particle detectors. Beyond the primary scientific goal of the CREDO project, to detect Cosmic Ray Ensembles, is the equally important educational goal of the project. To use smartphones for EAS detection, it is necessary to demonstrate that they are capable of effectively registering relativistic charged particles. In this article, we show that the events recorded in the CREDO project database are indeed tracing incoherent cosmic ray muons. The specific observed distribution of zenith angle of charged particle direction corresponds to that expected for muons. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine different mechanisms leading to such a distribution, and we believe it clearly demonstrates the suitability of smartphone-based detectors in supporting the more traditional cosmic ray detectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Cosmic Rays and Their Impact on Human Activities)
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