Andre Sierra Alderete, John W. Hewitt and Warren Huelsnitz
Dr. John Hewitt, Dr. Warren Huelsnitz | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Physics
The goal of the IceACT project is to establish an array of small ACTs deployed at the South Pole for neutrino detection, CR composition studies and high energy gamma ray detection. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole has detected these massless subatomic particles called neutrinos. These high-energy astronomical messengers provide us information to investigate the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. In particular, these neutrinos have no charge, and can travel across the universe without being scattered by interstellar magnetic fields. The main background for astrophysical neutrinos are muons and neutrinos produced in the Earth’s atmosphere by cosmic-ray air showers. The showers are produced by energetic neutrinos interacting with the air particles produces a wave front of Cherenkov radiation. To better identify these background neutrinos, IceCube constructed an imaging air Cherenkov telescope dubbed IceACT. This telescope detects atmospheric muons from the cosmic-ray air showers and can independently calibrate the angular reconstruction of IceCube to provide accurate results in future trials. In furthering our research on cosmic-ray muons, having an array of IceACTs will allow dramatic improvements in IceCube’s capability to measure both astrophysical neutrinos and very high energy cosmic rays from our galaxy.