COSMIC NEUTRINOS

14 Jun

This is fascinating. For those, like me, who find it difficult to conceptualize these particles, they are described as: subatomic, invisible: electrically neutral and passing through space without interference, They travel in straight lines and are almost undetectable. In fact, in seconds, tens of billions pass through our bodies. They are created by radioactive decay such as takes place in the sun  — most neutrinos apparently emanate from the sun.

Antarctica boasts a neutrino detector, ‘Ice Cube’. It is a telescope 1000s meters below the ice. It houses sensitive devices, strings of censors each with 60 sensitive light detectors. As I understand it, as neutrinos come hurting through, they occasionally collide with the nuclei of ice atoms. The collision produces a blue flash that detectors record and, since neutrinos travel in straight lines, the direction they have come from can be determined.

In April, two neutrinos, cunningly called Bert and Ernie, were detected with high enough energy to suggest they had come from the cosmos rather than from our atmosphere i.e. outside our solar system. This was a first. More have been since.

The aim now is further investigation directed towards that region of space in the hope of getting increase understanding of what is going on in the cosmos.

 

 

Tags

Cosmos, neutrinos, Ice Cube, Neutrinos from cosmos.

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