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Comptes Rendus Physique
Volume 15, n° 4
pages 367-375 (avril 2014)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crhy.2014.02.009
Cosmic rays around  : Implications of contemporary measurements on the origin of the ankle feature
Rayons cosmiques autour de   : Implications des observations contemporaines pour l'origine de la cheville

Olivier Deligny
 IPN Orsay, 15, rue Clémenceau, 91406 Orsay cedex, France 


The impressive power-law decay of the energy spectrum of cosmic rays over more than thirty orders of magnitude in intensity and for energies ranging over eleven decades between   and   is actually dotted with small irregularities. These irregularities are highly valuable for uncovering and understanding the modes of production and propagation of cosmic rays. They manifest themselves through changes in the spectral index characterising the observed power laws. One of these irregularities, known as the ankle , is subject to conflicting interpretations for many years. If contemporary observations characterising it have shed new lights, they are still far from being able to deliver all the story. The purpose of this contribution is to give an overview of the physics of cosmic rays in the energy range where the transition between Galactic and extragalactic cosmic rays is expected to occur, and to deliver several lines of thought about the origin of the ankle.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

L'impressionnante décroissance en loi de puissance du spectre en énergie des rayons cosmiques sur plus de trente ordres de grandeur en intensité et sur une échelle d'énergie balayant onze décades entre   et   est en fait semée de petites irrégularités riches d'enseignements quant aux modes de production et de propagation des rayons cosmiques. Ces irrégularités se manifestent par des changements de l'indice spectral caractérisant les lois de puissance observées. L'une de ces irrégularités, connue sous le nom de cheville , fait l'objet d'interprétations antagonistes depuis bon nombre d'années. Si les observations contemporaines la caractérisant ont permis de mieux la cerner, elles sont néanmoins encore loin de pouvoir en livrer tous les ressorts. L'objet de cette contribution est de donner un aperçu de la physique des rayons cosmiques dans la gamme d'énergie propice à une transition entre rayons cosmiques d'origine galactique et extragalactique, et de livrer plusieurs pistes de réflexion sur l'origine de la cheville.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Cosmic rays, Iron knee, Ankle, Galactic/extragalactic transition

Mots-clés : Rayons cosmiques, Genou de fer, Cheville, Transition galactique/extragalactique

1  The impact of the extragalactic background light can be neglected for the propagation of ultra-high-energy protons.

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