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Extragalatic Cosmic Rays: a Prescription to Avoid Disaster – Corbin Covault

Date: Tue. October 16th, 2007, 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Location: Rockefeller 221

The origin of the highest energy cosmic rays has remained a persistent mystery for decades. Now we seem to be on the verge of getting a new handle on where in the universe these things come from. The Pierre Auger Observatory has been operating since 2004, and already we have some clear clues, including the energy spectrum and limits on photon flux that strongly suggest an extragalactic origin for the highest energy cosmic rays. More recently the unparalleled collecting area of Auger has been brought to bear on the question of potential correlations between particular astrophysical objects and cosmic ray arrival directions. In this talk I will outline some of strategies that Auger has developed in an effort to stalk the origin of cosmic rays. I will in particular describe Auger protocol for searching for anisotropies by requiring a search prescription applied a priori to a given data set. This approach effectively allows us to self-verify any apparent deviation from anisotropy. This approach also frees us from some of the major pitfalls that have befallen previous work.

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