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Advances in Astronomy
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1932413, 13 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1932413
Research Article

Capability of the HAWC Gamma-Ray Observatory for the Indirect Detection of Ultrahigh-Energy Neutrinos

Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 20-364, 01000 Ciudad de México, Mexico

Correspondence should be addressed to Hermes León Vargas

Received 10 March 2017; Revised 12 May 2017; Accepted 11 June 2017; Published 25 July 2017

Academic Editor: Dieter Horns

Copyright © 2017 Hermes León Vargas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The detection of ultrahigh-energy neutrinos, with energies in the PeV range or above, is a topic of great interest in modern astroparticle physics. The importance comes from the fact that these neutrinos point back to the most energetic particle accelerators in the Universe and provide information about their underlying acceleration mechanisms. Atmospheric neutrinos are a background for these challenging measurements, but their rate is expected to be negligible above ≈1 PeV. In this work we describe the feasibility to study ultrahigh-energy neutrinos based on the Earth-skimming technique, by detecting the charged leptons produced in neutrino-nucleon interactions in a high mass target. We propose to detect the charged leptons, or their decay products, with the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory and use as a large-mass target for the neutrino interactions the Pico de Orizaba volcano, the highest mountain in Mexico. In this work we develop an estimate of the detection rate using a geometrical model to calculate the effective area of the observatory. Our results show that it may be feasible to perform measurements of the ultrahigh-energy neutrino flux from cosmic origin during the expected lifetime of the HAWC observatory.