Project AERA - Auger Engineering Radio Array

AERA set up

AERA is a new antenna system that measures faint radio signals and short (in the frequency range of tens of MHz) produced in air showers produced by AERA is a new antenna system that measures faint radio signals and short (in the frequency range of tens of MHz) produced in air showers produced by cosmic rays at high energy. It uses an array of dozens of antennas, a signal processing electronics developed for this purpose.

AERA antennas are active 24 hours a day, like the surface detectors of the Pierre Auger Observatory. While this cosmic ray detection technique has been proposed over 50 years ago, it could only be implemented recently, due to technical difficulties. Currently there are a total of 124 radio stations that are operational, which are installed in 2 steps. In a first stage, AERA-1 was deployed in 2010 and consisted in 24 radio stations equipped with detectors LPDA (logarithmic-periodic dipole) antennas located on a grid of 150 m away. The second stage was installed in May 2013, 100 stations of different design. These AERA-2 stations are equipped with a simple Butterfly-Antenna and spaced between 250 m and 375 m away. Four radio stations that have the ability to measure the electric field vector in 3D were also installed.

The advancement of AERA and availability of almost 100% of the time led to the first results that confirm that the theoretical predictions about the emission mechanism and Monte Carlo simulations are in good agreement with the data. In a few months we will begin to install more 3D antennas.

AERA antennas digitizers use the latest generation, which have been able to record the first events to coincide with the surface detectors of the Auger Observatory.