Secondary antiprotons and propagation of cosmic rays in the Galaxy and heliosphere | Nigeria Newspaper - Latest Nigeria News paper


Secondary antiprotons and propagation of cosmic rays in the Galaxy and heliosphere

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High-energy collisions of cosmic-ray nuclei with interstellar gas are believed to be the mechanism producing the majority of cosmic ray antiprotons. Due to the kinematics of the process they are created with a nonzero momentum; the characteristic spectral shape with a maximum at ~2 GeV and a sharp decrease towards lower energies makes antiprotons a unique probe of models for particle propagation in the Galaxy and modulation in the heliosphere. On the other hand, accurate calculation of the secondary antiproton flux provides a ``background'' for searches for exotic signals from the annihilation of supersymmetric particles and primordial black hole evaporation.
Recently new data with large statistics on both low and high energy antiproton fluxes have become available which allow such tests to be performed. We use our propagation code GALPROP to calculate interstellar cosmic-ray propagation for a variety of models. We show that there is no simple model capable of accurately describing the whole variety of data: boron/carbon and sub-iron/iron ratios, spectra of protons, helium, antiprotons, positrons, electrons, and diffuse gamma rays. We find that only a model with a break in the diffusion coefficient plus convection can reproduce measurements of cosmic-ray species, and the reproduction of primaries (p, He) can be further improved by introducing a break in the primary injection spectra. For our best-fit model we make predictions of proton and antiproton fluxes near the Earth for different modulation levels and magnetic polarity using a steady-state drift model of propagation in the heliosphere.
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