University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Kenneth Heller

Observation of muon intensity variations by season with the MINOS far detector
MINOS collaboration, Phys Rev D81, 012001 (2010)

Abstract

The temperature of the upper atmosphere affects the height of primary cosmic ray interactions and the production of high-energy cosmic ray muons which can be detected deep underground. The MINOS far detector at Soudan, MN, has collected over 67 X 10(6) cosmic ray induced muons. The underground muon rate measured over a period of five years exhibits a 4% peak-to-peak seasonal variation which is highly correlated with the temperature in the upper atmosphere. The coefficient, alpha(T), relating changes in the muon rate to changes in atmospheric temperature was found to be alpha(T) 0: 873 +/- 0: 009(stat) +/- 0.010(syst). Pions and kaons in the primary hadronic interactions of cosmic rays in the atmosphere contribute differently to alpha(T) due to the different masses and lifetimes. This allows the measured value of alpha(T) to be interpreted as a measurement of the K/pi ratio for E-p greater than or similar to 7 TeV of 0.12(-0.05)(+0.07), consistent with the expectation from collider experiments.