Physics and Astronomy, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science Major: Physics and Astronomy Under the Supervision of Professor Gregory Snow Lincoln, Nebraska May, 2010


The Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory currently operates four elastic lidar systems in order to characterize the atmospheric aerosol content above the observatory. The atmospheric information gained by the lidar system is then used in the calibration of the observatory’s four fluorescence detectors. Currently the four lidars in operation are unable to accurately determine the aerosol content below a distance of 1 km. A project is currently underway to upgrade the current lidar system by adding an additional detector to each of the existing lidar systems. The considered designs for this upgrade and the initial results from the upgrade prototype are the subject of this thesis.