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Astronomy and Astrophysics 473 (2007) 59-66
Signatures of the extragalactic cosmic-ray source composition from spectrum and shower depth measurements
D. Allard1, A. Olinto1, E. Parizot1

We discuss the differences induced by the assumed composition of extragalactic sources on the predicted UHECR spectrum and the energy evolution of the cosmic-ray shower . We show that different assumptions for the source power evolution do not modify our earlier finding that in the case of a mixed composition the ankle can be interpreted as the end of the transition from galactic to extragalactic cosmic rays. We show that the features associated with this transition in each cosmic-ray source model are essentially independent of the assumed hadronic model. In the mixed composition cases, a signature of the interactions of nuclei with the photon backgrounds is also expected above $10^{19}$ eV. The comparisons with Stereo HiRes and Fly's Eye data favour an extragalactic mixed composition and the corresponding interpretation of the ankle. Confrontation of model predictions with future data at the highest energies will allow a better determination of the transition features and of the cosmic-ray source composition, independently of hadronic models. We also emphasize that in the pure proton case, a combined analysis of the spectrum and composition below the ankle could lead to constraints on the source power evolution with redshift.
1 :  APC - UMR 7164 - AstroParticule et Cosmologie
Physique/Astrophysique/Cosmologie et astrophysique extra-galactique

Planète et Univers/Astrophysique/Cosmologie et astrophysique extra-galactique
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