Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Upside-down underwater telescope to study visitors from space

18.03.2003


Scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds will soon be able to study some of the most elusive particles known to man, thanks to a giant telescope under the sea that looks down towards the centre of the Earth rather than up into the sky.



Together with fellow scientists from across Europe they are building a telescope 2400m (one and a half miles) under the Mediterranean Sea to detect neutrinos. These tiny elementary particles hardly exist at all, having no charge and almost no mass. Neutrinos zoom through the earth at almost the speed of light, travelling here from some of the most extreme regions of the cosmos. Understanding them will give us a new view of the Universe and may allow scientists to confirm the existence of dark matter. Dark matter is believed to make up some of the 90 per cent of the missing mass of the Universe that has never been detected.

The project, costing 20 million Euros, is the result of collaboration between 150 physicists and astronomers from sixteen European organisations.


The telescope will consist of ten 480m long strings fixed to the seabed, each with a weight at one end and a buoy at the other. Each string will have around 30 light detection photo-multipliers distributed along the entire length. The strings are connected, via a junction box on the seabed, to a 40km fibre optic cable, which relays information back to a base station on the south coast of France. Today the Nautille submarine has connected the first string to the cable using a robotic arm.

Dr Lee Thompson of the Physics and Astronomy Department at University of Sheffield is the UK project leader for Antares. He explains how the telescope works, "The photo-multipliers detect the light given off on the rare occasions when neutrinos interact with material (such as rock in the seabed or even seawater) and become muons. Muons are particles that are similar to electrons but heavier. When travelling through the water the muons give off a blue light, which the telescope will detect and record.

"Neutrinos have no charge so they always travel in a straight line. By following the path of the muons we will be able to determine where the neutrinos came from and discover the source of their creation.

"The reason that we need to build the telescope under the sea is that the water prevents muons from cosmic rays in the atmosphere from contaminating our study. By looking down the Earth also acts as a filter, as muons that haven?t been created from a neutrino will be absorbed before they can get into the study area."

Jon Pyle | alfa
Further information:
http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/academic/N-Q/phys/research/pa/antares/faq.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites
24.11.2017 | Universität Heidelberg

nachricht Lightning, with a chance of antimatter
24.11.2017 | Kyoto University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>