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Observations of nitrogen and oxygen isotopes in the low energy cosmic rays


Vidor, Solomon Benjamin (1975) Observations of nitrogen and oxygen isotopes in the low energy cosmic rays. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Y2TW-4412.


The isotopic composition of the enhanced low energy nitrogen and oxygen cosmic rays can provide information regarding the source of these particles. Using the Caltech Electron/Isotope Spectrometer aboard the IMP-7 satellite, a measurement of this isotopic composition was made. To determine the isotope response of the instrument, a calibration was performed, and it was determined that the standard range-energy tables were inadequate to calculate the isotope response. From the calibration, corrections to the standard range-energy tables were obtained which can be used to calculate the isotope response of this and similar instruments.

The low energy nitrogen and oxygen cosmic rays were determined to be primarily ^(14)N and ^(16)O. Upper limits were obtained for the abundances of the other stable nitrogen and oxygen isotopes. To the 84% confidence level the isotopic abundances are: ^(15)N/N ≤ 0.26 (5.6- 12.7 MeV/nucleon), ^(17)0/0 ≤ 0.13 (7.0- 11.8 MeV/nucleon), (18)0/0 ≤ 0.12 (7.0 - 11.2 MeV/nucleon). The nitrogen composition differs from higher energy measurements which indicate that ^(15)N, which is thought to be secondary, is the dominant isotope. This implies that the low energy enhanced cosmic rays are not part of the same population as the higher energy cosmic rays and that they have not passed through enough material to produce a large fraction of ^(15)N. The isotopic composition of the low energy enhanced nitrogen and oxygen is consistent with the local acceleration theory of Fisk, Kozlovsky, and Ramaty, in which interstellar material is accelerated to several MeV/nucleon. If, on the other hand, the low energy nitrogen and oxygen result from nucleosynthesis in a galactic source, then the nucleosynthesis processes which produce an enhancement of nitrogen and oxygen and a depletion of carbon are restricted to producing predominantly ^(14)N and ^(16)O.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Stone, Edward C.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:29 May 1975
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10092014-085716916
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8680
Deposited On:09 Oct 2014 16:18
Last Modified:24 Jun 2024 20:32

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