Anisotropy and chemical composition of ultra-high energy cosmic rays using arrival directions measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

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Scientific paper

The Pierre Auger Collaboration has reported evidence for anisotropy in the distribution of arrival directions of the cosmic rays with energies $E>E_{th}=5.5\times 10^{19}$ eV. These show a correlation with the distribution of nearby extragalactic objects, including an apparent excess around the direction of Centaurus A. If the particles responsible for these excesses at $E>E_{th}$ are heavy nuclei with charge $Z$, the proton component of the sources should lead to excesses in the same regions at energies $E/Z$. We here report the lack of anisotropies in these directions at energies above $E_{th}/Z$ (for illustrative values of $Z=6,\ 13,\ 26$). If the anisotropies above $E_{th}$ are due to nuclei with charge $Z$, and under reasonable assumptions about the acceleration process, these observations imply stringent constraints on the allowed proton fraction at the lower energies.

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