EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Measurements of cosmic rays by a mini neutron monitor aboard the German research vessel Polarstern

Bernd Heber1, Sönke Burmeister1, Hanna Giese1, Konstantin Herbst1, Lisa Romaneehsen1, Carolin Schwerdt2, Du Toit Strauss3, and Michael Walter2
Bernd Heber et al.
  • 1Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Institut für Experimentelle und Angewandte Physik, Kiel, Germany (
  • 2Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY in Zeuthen, Germany
  • 3Center for Space Research, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa

Neutron monitors are ground-based devices that measure the secondary particle population, i.e., neutrons produced by, e.g., galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). Due to their functionality, they are integral counters whose flux is proportional to the variation of the input spectrum. However, the measured flux also depends on the geomagnetic position and the static pressure at the monitor's location. To better understand the instrument response, the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, DESY Zeuthen, and the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, agreed on regular monitoring of the GCR intensity as a function of latitude, by installing a portable device aboard the German research vessel Polarstern in 2012. The vessel is ideally suited for this research campaign because it covers extensive geomagnetic latitudes (i.e., goes from the Arctic to the Antarctic) at least once per year. Since the installation aboard the vessel, 12 latitude scans were performed, allowing us to compute the so-called yield function by experimental means presented in this contribution.

The Kiel team received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 870405. The team would like to thank the crew of the Polarstern and the AWI for supporting our research campaign.

How to cite: Heber, B., Burmeister, S., Giese, H., Herbst, K., Romaneehsen, L., Schwerdt, C., Strauss, D. T., and Walter, M.: Measurements of cosmic rays by a mini neutron monitor aboard the German research vessel Polarstern, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15343,, 2023.