The SKA particle array prototype: The first particle detector at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory

J. D. Bray, A. Williamson, J. Schelfhout, C. W. James, R. E. Spencer, H. Chen, B. D. Cropper, D. Emrich, K. M.L. Gould, A. Haungs, W. Hodder, T. Howland, T. Huege, D. Kenney, A. McPhail, S. Mitchell, I. C. Niţu, P. Roberts, R. Tawn, J. TicknerS. J. Tingay

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Abstract

We report on the design, deployment, and first results from a scintillation detector deployed at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO). The detector is a prototype for a larger array – the Square Kilometre Array Particle Array (SKAPA) – planned to allow the radio-detection of cosmic rays with the Murchison Widefield Array and the low-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array. The prototype design has been driven by stringent limits on radio emissions at the MRO, and to ensure survivability in a desert environment. Using data taken from Nov. 2018 to Feb. 2019, we characterize the detector response while accounting for the effects of temperature fluctuations, and calibrate the sensitivity of the prototype detector to through-going muons. This verifies the feasibility of cosmic ray detection at the MRO. We then estimate the required parameters of a planned array of eight such detectors to be used to trigger radio observations by the Murchison Widefield Array.

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    Bray, J. D., Williamson, A., Schelfhout, J., James, C. W., Spencer, R. E., Chen, H., Cropper, B. D., Emrich, D., Gould, K. M. L., Haungs, A., Hodder, W., Howland, T., Huege, T., Kenney, D., McPhail, A., Mitchell, S., Niţu, I. C., Roberts, P., Tawn, R., ... Tingay, S. J. (2020). The SKA particle array prototype: The first particle detector at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 973, [164168]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2020.164168