Hadronic interactions and cosmic rays at ultra high energies
INFN sezione Roma Sapienza
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Observations of ultra high energy cosmic rays allow in principle to obtain information about the properties of hadronic interactions in an energy range not accessible with particle accelerators. This task is however complicated by the fact that the composition of the primary CR is not known and must be estimated from the same data set. Solving the ambiguity between composition and hadronic interaction modeling is a central problem for UHECR observations. Recently the Pierre Auger collaboration has presented an estimate of the p–air interaction length at a laboratory energy E0 ≃ 1018.24 eV. The interaction length is inferred from the shape of the tail of the Xmax distribution of the observed showers, following a method pioneered by the Fly's Eye group. In this work we want to analyse critically this method, and discuss its potential for further studies.
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