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The energy spectrum of primary cosmic ray electrons from 2 GeV to 200 GeV


A balloon borne counter telescope with a gas Cerenkov counter is used to measure the energy of primary cosmic ray electrons between 2 and 200 GeV. Electrons are identified by the characteristic electron-photon shower which they produce in a 15 radiation length deep stack of high-Z material interleaved with scintillation counters. Calibrations with monoenergetic electrons up to 14 GeV and monoenergetic protons up to 28 GeV from accelerators are used to develop criteria to statistically separate electrons from proton induced events. The results from six balloon flights (total exposure time 63 hours) are combined to obtain the electron energy spectrum. Up to about 30 GeV the spectrum measured in this experiment can be directly checked with calibrations and agrees well with results from other experiments. Above this energy the flux reported here is somewhat higher than the determinations reported by most other authors. We do not attach significance to an apparent flattening of the energy spectrum above 50 GeV. There is no evidence for a steepening of the spectrum at energies below 200 GeV.

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Work supported in part by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant NGL 14-001-005.

Also Department of Physics.

NSF trainee (1965–1969).

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Fanselow, J.L., Hartman, R.C., Meyer, P. et al. The energy spectrum of primary cosmic ray electrons from 2 GeV to 200 GeV. Astrophys Space Sci 14, 301–313 (1971).

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  • Exposure Time
  • Energy Spectrum
  • Electron Energy
  • Induce Event
  • Scintillation Counter