Atmospheric Particle Showers and Cherenkov Radiation from Gamma Ray, Proton and Carbon-13

The interactions of 3 types of very-high-energy particles (gamma-ray, proton and Carbon-13 nucleus) were simulated. The fully developed atmospheric particle showers (red) are shown including the Cherenkov light (blue) just before impact on the ground. Even though the 3 particle had the same initial energy, the most intense Cherenkov light is produced by the gamma ray, less by the proton, and the least by the Carbon nucleus. Each time a very-high-energy particle interacts in the atmosphere, fluctuations cause the shower to develop differently. Shown here are pretty 'average' looking showers.