Understanding cosmic rays and searching for exotic sources with PAMELA
12 Apr 2011
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Abstract. The instrument PAMELA, in orbit since 15~June 2006 on board of the Russian satellite Resurs DK1, is designed to study charged particles in the cosmic radiation, with a particular focus on antimatter and signals of dark matter annihilation. PAMELA is also looking for primordial antinuclei, measuring light nuclei energy spectra, studying the mechanisms of acceleration and propagation of the cosmic rays in the Galaxy, and monitoring the solar activity and the radiation belts.
A review of the main experimental results obtained by PAMELA is presented in this paper. The observed anomalous positron excess is discussed in terms of annihilation of dark matter particles as well as in terms of standard astrophysical sources. Moreover constraints on dark matter models from antiproton data are shown.