A. Executive Summary

As a result of cosmic radiation interaction with the atmosphere we find that a series of phenomena known as extensive air showers results from the decay of these particles when they make contact with the gases and other elements our atmosphere is composed of. Because each particle decays differently depending on the strength of the forces that bind it we find that air showers produced by different particles produce a different array of daughter particles which if unstable continually break up into other subatomic particles. Because of such we can determine what kind of particle each air shower is produced by based on the pattern of decay left as it approaches ground level and the energy of the particle causing the air shower.

 The purpose of our project is to determine the difference between gamma and electromagnetic air showers. We are going to solve this problem with the help of the CORSIKA computational model. The CORSIKA model itself is a Monte Carlo system, that is to say, that it randomly chooses numbers for simulation. We want to evaluate the distribution of particles at seven thousand feet and first interaction relative to density that our data plots produce. All graphs are plotted on a Cartesian coordinate system with the center of the interaction as the origin. If a particle is a proton we expect to find more greater particle density towards the center of the interaction. If a particle is a gamma then we expect it will not have as much particles and they will be more spread out towards the center of the interaction.

Another means of determining the differences between shower data and plots which we plan to employ involves evaluating the different daughter particles that each interaction produces. For example if a particle is a proton it will produce muons, as mandated by its decay pattern. If it the particle is gamma then it will produce solely electromagnetic daughter particles with much lower probability of producing muons. For the purpose of collecting accurate data we will be analyzing several 10,000 shower events.