Measurement of the cosmic ray composition at the knee with the SPASE-2/AMANDA-B10 detectors

J. Ahrens, M. Ackermann, E. Andres, X. Bai, S. W. Barwick, R. C. Bay, T. Becka, K. H. Becker, E. Bernardini, D. Bertrand, F. Binon, A. Biron, D. J. Boersma, S. Böser, O. Botner, A. Bouchta, O. Bouhali, T. Burgess, S. Carius, T. CastermansD. Chirkin, J. Conrad, J. Cooley, D. F. Cowen, A. Davour, C. de Clercq, T. DeYoung, P. Desiati, J. P. Dewulf, E. Dickinson, P. Ekström, R. Engel, P. Evenson, T. Feser, T. K. Gaisser, R. Ganugapati, M. Gaug, H. Geenen, L. Gerhardt, A. Goldschmidt, A. Hallgren, F. Halzen, K. Hanson, R. Hardtke, T. Hauschildt, M. Hellwig, P. Herquet, G. C. Hill, J. A. Hinton, D. Hubert, B. Hughey, P. O. Hulth, K. Hultqvist, S. Hundertmark, J. Jacobsen, A. Karle, J. Kim, L. Köpke, M. Kowalski, K. Kuehn, J. I. Lamoureux, H. Leich, M. Leuthold, P. Lindahl, I. Liubarsky, J. Lloyd-Evans, J. Madsen, K. Mandli, P. Marciniewski, H. S. Matis, C. P. McParland, T. Messarius, T. C. Miller, Y. Minaeva, P. Miočinović, P. C. Mock, R. Morse, R. Nahnhauer, T. Neunhöffer, P. Niessen, D. R. Nygren, H. Ögelman, P. Olbrechts, C. Pérez de los Heros, A. C. Pohl, R. Porrata, P. B. Price, G. T. Przybylski, K. Rawlins, E. Resconi, W. Rhode, M. Ribordy, S. Richter, K. Rochester, J. Rodríguez Martino, D. Ross, H. G. Sander, T. Schmidt, K. Schinarakis, S. Schlenstedt, D. Schneider, R. Schwarz, A. Silvestri, M. Solarz, G. M. Spiczak, C. Spiering, M. Stamatikos, T. Stanev, D. Steele, P. Steffen, R. G. Stokstad, K. H. Sulanke, I. Taboada, S. Tilav, C. Walck, W. Wagner, Y. R. Wang, A. A. Watson, C. H. Wiebusch, C. Wiedemann, R. Wischnewski, H. Wissing, K. Woschnagg, W. Wu, G. Yodh, S. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The mass composition of high-energy cosmic rays at energies above 1015 eV can provide crucial information for the understanding of their origin. Air showers were measured simultaneously with the SPASE-2 air shower array and the AMANDA-B10 Cherenkov telescope at the South Pole. This combination has the advantage to sample almost all high-energy shower muons and is thus a new approach to the determination of the cosmic ray composition. The change in the cosmic ray mass composition was measured versus existing data from direct measurements at low energies. Our data show an increase of the mean log atomic mass 〈lnA〉 by about 0.8 between 500 TeV and 5 PeV. This trend of an increasing mass through the "knee" region is robust against a variety of systematic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-581
Number of pages17
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the following agencies: National Science Foundation: Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation-Physics Division, University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Department of Energy, and National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (supported by the Office of Energy Research of the Department of Energy), UC-Irvine AENEAS Supercomputer Facility, USA; Swedish Research Council, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Sweden; German Ministry for Education and Research, Deutsche Forschungsgemein-schaft (DFG), Germany; Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS-FWO), Flanders Institute to encourage scientific and technological research in industry (IWT), and Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural affairs (OSTC), Belgium; Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, UK; D.F.C. acknowledges the support of the NSF CAREER program.


  • Cosmic Rays
  • Mass composition
  • Neutrino astronomy


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