Journal Article

Impact of the spectral hardening of TeV cosmic rays on the prediction of the secondary positron flux

J. Lavalle

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 2, pages 985-991
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.18294.x
Impact of the spectral hardening of TeV cosmic rays on the prediction of the secondary positron flux

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The rise in the cosmic-ray positron fraction measured by the PAMELA satellite is likely due to the presence of astrophysical sources of positrons, for example, pulsars, on kpc scales around the Earth. Nevertheless, assessing the properties of these sources from the positron data requires a good knowledge of the secondary positron component generated by the interaction of cosmic rays with the interstellar gas. In this paper, we investigate the impact of the spectral hardening in the cosmic-ray proton and helium fluxes recently reported by the ATIC2 and CREAM balloon experiments on the predictions of the secondary positron flux. We show that the effect is not negligible, leading to an increase in the secondary positron flux by up to ∼60 per cent above ∼100 GeV. We provide fitting formulae that allow a straightforward utilization of our results, which can help in deriving constraints on one’s favourite primary positron source, for example, pulsars or dark matter.

Keywords: cosmic rays

Journal Article.  4604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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