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AIRES Cosmic Ray Showers

Maximo Ave, Dinoj Surendran, Tokonatsu Yamamoto, Randy Landsberg, and Mark SubbaRao created the following visualizations of showers created using Sergio Sciutto's AIRES package. The AIRES source code was modified so it output intermediate particle positions, and these were then processed with a Perl script to Partiview format.

This page has downloads of several showers, and documentation. The showers work in Linux and Windows, and in side-by-side stereo i.e. on a geowall. Everything here is released under Creative Commons License 2.5.

Shown above is an AIRES simulation of what happens when a proton with 1Tev of energy hits the atmosphere about 20km above the ground. The shower is in a 20km x 5km x 5km box superimposed on a scale map of Chicago's lakefront. The picture for that was obtained from the TerraServer site. Different kinds of particles are colored differently. For example, here, electrons and positrons are green, muons are red, and gamma rays are cyan.


These movies here are in MPEG format, and should work on any computer.
movies of a 1EeV proton shower made for a talk by Paolo Privitera on 28 November 2006 by Mark.
  • Slow 756 x 756 version (5Mb)
  • Fast 480 x 640 version (1Mb)
720 x 480 movies of a 1TeV proton shower:
  • Hi-resolution version (55Mb)
  • Lo-resolution version (7Mb)
1600 x 600 stereo animations of a 200GeV gamma ray shower inclined at 60 degrees to the zenith, starting 5km high. MPEG (300k), GIF (2.8Mb)
800 x 600 left-eye animations of the same MPEG (225k), GIF (1.4 Mb)
800 x 600 right-eye animations of the same MPEG (225k), GIF (1.4 Mb)

All individual frames used to make these are in this zip file (16Mb).

Animated 3d Models

Below are interactive showers that you can spin/zoom/move while they, well, shower. Unless otherwise stated, they work on Windows and Linux (OS X version to come, email us if you want it yesterday), and in passive stereo e.g. on a geowall. Each comes with a README.TXT file that has information on how to run it, what the colors mean, etc.

They also come with the interactive viewing freeware Partiview.

[Recommended] Five Showers (Windows only). This has five showers (alpha, proton. gamma, iron, etc) at 333 ns per time step, and with a much more user-friendly interface than the other showers below. The interface was made by Mark SubbaRao using a Director plugin written by Toshiyuki Takahei.

File(size) Initial Particle Initial Particle's Energy
(1 GeV = 109 electron Volts)
per time step
Date Generated
42 Mb Various (alpha, gamma, iron, proton)200GeV (varies) March 06
18 Mb Proton 1019eV (=10 EeV) 3000 ns March 05
24 Mb Proton 1000 GeV (=1 TeV) 500 ns 23 Dec 04
16 Mb Proton 1000 GeV 1000 ns 23 Dec 04
22 Mb Proton 200 GeV 200 ns 6 Jan 05
56 Mb Proton+Gamma
(4 showers)
200 GeV 200 ns 5 Jan 05
37 Mb Gamma 1000 GeV 500 ns 23 Dec 04
22 Mb Gamma 1000 GeV 1000 ns 23 Dec 04
24 Mb Gamma 200 GeV 300 ns 23 Dec 04
37 Mb Iron 200 GeV 200 ns 6 Jan 05
22 Mb Electron 200 GeV 200 ns 6 Jan 05
17 Mb Gamma
60 deg, 5 km
200 GeV 200 ns 7 Feb 05

Technical Information

Instructions on how to make your own showers can be found here.

How to modify the picture of the ground

Change the file ground.sgi to whatever picture you want. You'll probably want to use a picture representing the same ground area, which is 8km x 8km. You can get a picture from TerraServer, for example.

How to show subshowers

You can turn on/off showers of various types, by typing commands like

     g1 only= type 1 -2

in the command window. This turns on all particles of type 1 and -2. As you can see from the Table below (compiled from Table 2.3 on page 21 of the AIRES Users Manual), this turns on only gamma rays and electrons.

1 gamma
-2/2 electron / positron
-30/30 anti/neutron
-31/31 anti/proton
-3/3 -/+ve muon
-4/4 -/+ve tau
-/+ 6/7/8 nu stuff
-11,-10,11 -/0/+ pi-meson
12/13 KOS / KOL
-14/14 K- / K+
15 eta
-20/20 lambdab / lambda

Older Showers

For archival's sake, here are some older showers of a 1TeV proton shower, where each frame is 200 ns (47 Mb) or 100ns (170 Mb).

More pictures

A 1 TeV gamma ray shower viewed from (below) the ground.
A 1 TeV proton shower viewed from (below) the ground.
A 200 GeV iron shower
A 200 GeV iron shower, animated


The visualizations and model data on this site are free and released under Creative Commons License 2.5. This means you can make derivative works of it, distribute it in any way you work, for both commercial and non-commercial work - as long as you give credit to us and to Sergio Sciutto for AIRES.

Partiview, the software that actually displays the data and whose binary is included in the zip file conttaining each model, is released under its own (different but similarly friendly) license.