Rigidity spectrum of cosmic ray helium nuclei
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An experiment has been carried out using an oriented stack of nuclear emulsions to determine the rigidity spectrum of cosmic ray helium nuclei between 12 and 40 GV, by taking advantage of the variation of the geomagnetic cut-off rigidity in the east-west plane over Hyderabad, India. Altotal of 2433 identified helium nuclei recorded in the stack, has been divided into 8 angular intervals in the east-west plane corresponding to 8 different cut-off rigidities. From this the integral fluxes of helium nuclei at the top of the atmosphere have been obtained for all the 8 rigidity intervals. The vertical flux above an effective threshold rigidity of 16·73 GV has been determined with high statistical accuracy and has a value of 15·0±0·5 helium nuclei (m2.sr.sec.)−1. The rigidity spectrum of these nuclei between 12 and 40 GV can be well represented by a power law of the type N (>R) =1990 R−1.74±0.11 (m2.sr.sec.)−1 and is the first direct determination so far made in this rigidity region.
The differential rigidity spectra of protons, helium nuclei and S-nuclei of the cosmic radiation in the vicinity of the earth at solar minimum (1965) have been constructed with the existing world data and it is found that for rigidities ≳ 10 GV, the three spectra have, within experimental errors, the same slope of 2·6. The ratio P/He and He/S of the differential fluxes have been studied as a function of rigidity. It is found that for R>2 GV, the ratio P/He has, within experimental errors, a constant value of 6·3; as for the ratio He/S, it seems that the experimental data above a GV is not inconsistent with a constant value of 14 over the entire rigidity interval considered here.
KeywordsZenith Angle Nuclear Emulsion Helium Nucleus Integral Flux Rigidity Region
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