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The IceCube Moon Shadow

2 Jun 2014, 17:55 UTC
The IceCube Moon Shadow
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

In a previous post, Marcos Santander wrote about a paper he and other IceCubers were working on looking for the shadow of the Moon in cosmic rays raining down on Earth. Now that paper has been published!
The shadow of the Moon as was observed with the 59-string configuration of IceCube.
The idea of the Moon shadow is simple: to make sure that our detector is pointed the way we think it’s pointed, we look for a known source. The Moon makes a very nice known source, because it blocks cosmic rays from reaching the Earth, and so we see a deficit of cosmic ray air showers (and thus the muons they produce) from the direction of the Moon. By seeing the deficit where we expect it, we know that we can trust directions within the detector, or as the paper puts it, “this measurement validates the directional reconstruction capabilities of IceCube.”
It’s always funny adding the language of modern statistical significance to discussions like this, because they make it sound rather absurd (at least using the frequentist school of statistics). We talk about the random probability that a null (boring) hypothesis could produce the same signal, so smaller probabilities ...

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