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 Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>