Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physics (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Physics

Advisor 1

Petra Huentemeyer

Committee Member 1

David Nitz

Committee Member 2

Robert Nemiroff


It is assumed that the distribution of the Milky Way cosmic rays, the cosmic ray ‘sea,’ is even throughout the Galaxy. This assumption can be tested by measuring gamma rays produced from cosmic ray interactions with Giant Molecular Clouds. The gamma ray flux depends on the mass and distance of a given molecular cloud as well as the cosmic ray flux in its vicinity. Thus a predicted gamma ray flux can be compared to actual flux data from a detector. Uncertainties from measuring the mass of and distance to the clouds are taken into account for this prediction. This report also discusses the HAWC water Cherenkov detector and why it is a good resource for this study. HAWC significance maps currently do not show significant flux from Giant Molecular Clouds against the background. A 95% upper limit is calculated for gamma ray and cosmic ray fluxes, which only weakly constrain their possible range.