Saturday, December 18, 2010

IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica: Remote, Chilly, and a New Window on the Cosmos

"One of the World's Biggest Telescopes Is Buried Beneath the South Pole"
Blake Snow, Science, (December 17, 2010)

"Like exploding stars, black holes, dark matter? How about cosmic intrigue, deep space astronomy, or origins of the universe?

Then you're gonna love this.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin are putting the finishing touches on a giant underground telescope buried beneath the South Pole to help understand said phenomena. Accordingly called the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, completion is expected to occur at 8 p.m. CST, once the last of more than 5,000 optical sensors is buried as much as two miles below the permanent ice cap covering Antarctica....

Instead of detecting photons, like telescopes we use to observe light, infrared, radio, ultraviolet, and other electromagnetic radiation, this telescope detects neutrinos.

The article's style is breezy, which in the Lemming's opinion helps make a fairly technical subject: fun to read about.

As for why bury the IceCube Neutrino Observatory? Neutrinos pass through just about everything: and are easier to detect when just about everything else is stopped by up to two miles of ice.

Related post:


Brigid said...

Why is there a hyphen here? "helps make a fairly technical subject - fun to read about."

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Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


Why? Because I felt like it!

Thanks, BTW.

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