Testing Hadronic Interactions at Ultrahigh Energies with Air Showers Measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory

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Abstract

Ultrahigh energy cosmic ray air showers probe particle physics at energies beyond the reach of accelerators. Here we introduce a new method to test hadronic interaction models without relying on the absolute energy calibration, and apply it to events with primary energy 6-16 EeV (ECM=110-170 TeV), whose longitudinal development and lateral distribution were simultaneously measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory. The average hadronic shower is 1.33±0.16 (1.61±0.21) times larger than predicted using the leading LHC-tuned models EPOS-LHC (QGSJetII-04), with a corresponding excess of muons.

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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