Minimal prospects for radio detection of extensive air showers in the atmosphere of Jupiter

Justin Bray, A. Nelles

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    One possible approach for detecting ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos is to search for radio emission from extensive air showers created when they interact in the atmosphere of Jupiter, effectively utilizing Jupiter as a particle detector. We investigate the potential of this approach. For searches with current or planned radio telescopes we find that the effective area for detection of cosmic rays is substantial (~3*10^7 km^2), but the acceptance angle is so small that the typical geometric aperture (~10^3 km^2 sr) is less than that of existing terrestrial detectors, and cosmic rays also cannot be detected below an extremely high threshold energy (~10^23 eV). The geometric aperture for neutrinos is slightly larger, and greater sensitivity can be achieved with a radio detector on a Jupiter-orbiting satellite, but in neither case is this sufficient to constitute a practical detection technique. Exploitation of the large surface area of Jupiter for detecting ultra-high-energy particles remains a long-term prospect that will require a different technique, such as orbital fluorescence detection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number129
    Number of pages10
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Early online date10 Jul 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • astro-ph.HE
    • astro-ph.IM


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