Carnegie Mellon University

Astro Lunch

The ANITA Anomalous Events: hints of new physics

The ANITA collaboration have reported observation of two anomalous events that appear to be $\varepsilon_{\rm cr} \approx 0.6$ EeV cosmic ray showers emerging from the Earth with exit angles of $27^\circ$ and $35^\circ$, respectively. While EeV-scale upgoing showers have been anticipated as a result of astrophysical tau neutrinos converting to tau leptons during Earth passage, the observed exit angles are much steeper than expected in Standard Model (SM) scenarios. Indeed, under conservative extrapolations of the SM interactions, there is no particle that can propagate through the Earth with probability $p > 10^{-6}$ at these energies and exit angles. We explore here whether "beyond the Standard Model" (BSM) particles are required to explain the ANITA events, if correctly interpreted, and conclude that they are.  I discuss some additional support for the scenario. Properties of the implied BSM particle are anticipated, at least in part, by those predicted for the "stau" slepton ($\tilde{\tau}_R$) in some supersymmetric models of the fundamental interactions, wherein the stau manifests as the next-to-lowest mass supersymmetric partner particle.