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Study of downward Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes with the surface detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory
Roberta Colalillo, Andrej Filipčič, Jon Paul Lundquist, Shima Ujjani Shivashankara, Samo Stanič, Serguei Vorobiov, Danilo Zavrtanik, Marko Zavrtanik, 2023, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: The surface detector (SD) of the Pierre Auger Observatory, consisting of 1660 water-Cherenkov detectors (WCDs), covers 3000 km2 in the Argentinian pampa. Thanks to the high efficiency of WCDs in detecting gammarays, it represents a unique instrument for studying downward Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) over a large area. Peculiar events, likely related to downward TGFs, were detected at the Auger Observatory. Their experimental signature and time evolution are very different from those of a shower produced by an ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray. They happen in coincidence with low thunderclouds and lightning, and their large deposited energy at the ground is compatible with that of a standard downward TGF with the source a few kilometers above the ground. A new trigger algorithm to increase the TGF-like event statistics was installed in the whole array. The study of the performance of the new trigger system during the lightning season is ongoing and will provide a handle to develop improved algorithms to implement in the Auger upgraded electronic boards. The available data sample, even if small, can give important clues about the TGF production models, in particular, the shape of WCD signals. Moreover, the SD allows us to observe more than one point in the TGF beam, providing information on the emission angle.
Keywords: Pierre Auger Observatory, ultra-high energy cosmic rays, surface detectors, extensive air shower, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes
Published in RUNG: 23.01.2024; Views: 542; Downloads: 6
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