The primary science goal of the NASA-sponsored ANITA project is measurement of ultra-high energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, observed via radio-frequency signals resulting from a neutrino or cosmic ray interaction with terrestrial matter (e.g. atmospheric or ice molecules). Accurate inference of the energies of these cosmic rays requires understanding the transmission/reflection of radio wave signals across the ice-air boundary. Satellite-based measurements of Antarctic surface reflectivity, using a co-located transmitter and receiver, have been performed more-or-less continuously for the last few decades. Our comparison of four different reflectivity surveys, at frequencies ranging from 2 to 45GHz and at near-normal incidence, yield generally consistent maps of high versus low reflectivity, as a function of location, across Antarctica. Using the Sun as an RF source, and the ANITA-3 balloon borne radio-frequency antenna array as the RF receiver, we have also measured the surface reflectivity over the interval 200-1000MHz, at elevation angles of 12-30?. Consistent with our previous measurement using ANITA-2, we find good agreement, within systematic errors (dominated by antenna beam width uncertainties) and across Antarctica, with the expected reflectivity as prescribed by the Fresnel equations. To probe low incidence angles, inaccessible to the Antarctic Solar technique and not probed by previous satellite surveys, a novel experimental approach ("HiCal-1") was devised. Unlike previous measurements, HiCal-ANITA constitute a bi-static transmitter-receiver pair separated by hundreds of kilometers. Data taken with HiCal, between 200 and 600MHz shows a significant departure from the Fresnel equations, constant with frequency over that band, with the deficit increasing with obliquity of incidence, which we attribute to the combined effects of possible surface roughness, surface grain effects, radar clutter and/or shadowing of the reflection zone due to Earth curvature effects. We discuss the science implications of the HiCal results, as well as improvements planned for HiCal-2, preparing for launch in December 2016.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics