Friday, January 25, 2013

ARIANNA - the 2012 season

Even though this blog has been  quiet, ARIANNA construction has been proceeding.  In November, 2012, a group from the University of California, Irvine, led by Stuart Kleinfelder, visited the site and deployed three radio-detection stations.  These three stations are the first half of the 7-station hexagonal array; the remaining four stations should be deployed next season.

These stations include many improvements beyond the prototypes that were previously deployed.   The electronics have been completely redesigned to use much less power (less than 10 Watts, instead of 30).  The power systems are much beefier, with much larger wind generators, on much higher towers.  They should provide power even though the winds only blow a small fraction of the time.  The towers include a much larger solar panel, which will power the station longer into the Antarctic twilight.  The stations also sports new lithium batteries which replace the old lead-acid gel batteries.  They have a much higher power:weight ratio (key for helicopter transport) and better low-temperature performance.  The stations are able to communicate directly with the internet repeater on Mt. Discovery.

In short, this is the first half of an array that should be able to make a physics measurement, either observing GZK neutrinos produced when ultra-high energy cosmic rays interact with the cosmic  microwave background radiation, or setting a competitive limit on their flux.