In-flight measurement of the absolute energy scale of the Fermi Large Area Telescope
Ackermann, M.; Ajello, M.; Allafort, A.; ASI sponsor
Jan - 2012

journal : Astroparticle Physics

Volume : 35 ; Issue : 6
type: Article Journal

Highlights º We calculate the geomagnetic cutoff in the cosmic ray electron-plus-positron spectrum via particle trajectory tracing code. º Compare the traced cutoff value with those measured in different geomagnetic positions. º We thus perform an in-flight verification of the absolute energy scale between 613 GeV with 2\% estimated uncertainity. Abstract The Large Area Telescope (LAT) on-board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is a pair-conversion telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky from 20 MeV to several hundreds of GeV. In this energy band there are no astronomical sources with sufficiently well known and sharp spectral features to allow an absolute calibration of the LAT energy scale. However, the geomagnetic cutoff in the cosmic ray electron-plus-positron (CRE) spectrum in low Earth orbit does provide such a spectral feature. The energy and spectral shape of this cutoff can be calculated with the aid of a numerical code tracing charged particles in the Earths magnetic field. By comparing the cutoff value with that measured by the LAT in different geomagnetic positions, we have obtained several calibration points between <6 and <13 GeV with an estimated uncertainty of <2\%. An energy calibration with such high accuracy reduces the systematic uncertainty in LAT measurements of, for example, the spectral cutoff in the emission from gamma ray pulsars.

keywords : Cosmic-rays; Geomagnetic cutoff; Absolute energy scale; Fermi Large Area Telescope