The LAGO Collaboration: Searching for high energy GRB emissions in Latin America
H. BARROS 1*, LAGO
1 Nuclear Physics Laboratory, University Simon Bolivar, Caracas - Venezuela
During more than a decade Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB a cosmological phenomena of tremendous power) have been extensively studied in the keV - MeV energy range. However, the higher energy emission still remains a mystery. The Large Aperture GRB Observatory (L.A.G.O.) is an international collaboration aiming at a better understanding of the GRB by studying their emission at high energies (> 1 GeV), where the fluxes are low and direct measurement by satellites is difficult. This is approached using the Single Particle Technique, previously investigated by the Pierre Auger Observatory, by means of ground-based Water Cherenkov Detectors (WCD) at sites of high altitude. At those altitudes it is possible to detect air showers produced by high energy photons from the GRB, i. e. a higher rate of events on a short time scale, of the order of the second. The Pierre Auger Observatory could detect such GRB given its large number of detectors, but at 1400 m.a.s.l. the expected signal is quite small. At higher altitudes, similar performance is expected with only a very small number of WCD. As of 2010, high altitude WCD are in operation at Sierra Negra (Mexico, 4650 m.a.s.l.), Chacaltaya (Bolivia, 5200 m.a.s.l.), Maracapomacocha (Peru, 4200 m.a.s.l.), and new WCDs are being installed in Venezuela (Pico Espejo, 4750 m.a.s.l.), Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Guatemala. Most of the new WCDs will not be at high enough altitude to detect GRB, never the less it will allow to obtain valuable measurements of secondaries at ground level, which are relevant for solar physics. The LAGO sensitivity to GRB is determined from simulations (under a sudden increase of 1 GeV - 1 TeV photons from a GRB) of the gamma initiated particle shower in the atmosphere and the WCD response to secondaries. We report on WDC calibration and operation at high altitude, GRB detectability, background rates, search for bursts in several months of preliminary data, as well as search for signals at ground level when satellite burst is reported, all these show the attractive advantages offered by detectors placed at height altitudes. This collaboration is a great opportunity to promote the scientific integration in the Latin American region, and thanks to The Pierre Auger Observatory support (which supplies the electronics and PMTs) research groups with relatively low budgets can participate.
Keywords: High Energy, GRB, WCD, Latin American Collaboration