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ISSN - 09276505, Astroparticle Physics, 2009, vol. 32, p. 286-293

A study of the γ-ray flux during the total solar eclipse of 1 August 2008 at Novosibirsk, Russia

Nayak Pranaba K., Gupta Sunil K., Jain Atul, Mazumdar Indranil, Raha Sibaji, Saha Swapan K., Bobrov Aleksandr V., Osipov Anton, Shwartz Boris

In the past, there have been reports of the observation of decrease in the flux of secondary cosmic γ-rays during a total solar eclipse. We have measured the flux of secondary cosmic γ-rays during the total solar eclipse that occurred at Novosibirsk in Russia, on 1 August 2008. Highly sensitive measurements were carried out by using a detector system with built-in redundancy. The system consisted of two independent, large volume NaI(Tl) scintillator detectors for sensitive and reliable measurements. The data display significant variability in the flux of secondary γ-rays in the energy range 50-4600 keV. Just prior to the total solar eclipse a change ∼9% in the flux was observed, followed by a small but steady decrease ∼4% during the eclipse. The temporal variation in the observed flux of γ-rays were found to be nearly identical for the two detectors. The energy dependence of the variation was further studied by binning the yield in three energy ranges, namely, 100-200, 200-400 and 400-4600 keV. The nearly identical time variation observed in the two independent measurements provides confidence that the measured variation is real and not an artifact of the instrumentation. Systematic observations during the future eclipses are required to study this fascinating phenomenon which is not yet understood. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.