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Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory At South Pole 78

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the steady-obserbbin' dept.
Scryer writes "Construction of the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory was completed on 18 Dec at the South Pole. It's now the world's largest neutrino detector, with 5,160 optical sensors on 86 strings embedded two kilometers below the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. It has been gathering data since construction started, and will be fully operational after the last strings freeze in March 2011."
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Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory At South Pole

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  • And they're hiring. (Score:4, Informative)

    by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:49PM (#34633764) Journal

    Want to spend a winter in Antarctica as the BOFH for a scientific supercomputer watching for neutrinos in a 2-km^3 ice cube?

    Recruitment for the 2011-2012 season will begin in early 2011 []

  • Wrong Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:49PM (#34633774)

    The actual story is here []

    The key bits is this (should have been in the summary):

    Under construction since 2004, IceCube encloses a cubic kilometer of clear ice, beginning one and a half kilometers beneath the surface and extending downward another kilometer. The telescope has to be this big because neutrino collisions with matter are exceedingly rare: out of uncounted trillions of neutrinos constantly passing through the ice, IceCube will observe just a few hundred a day.

    Seeing them at all is only possible because when neutrinos collide with the nuclei of oxygen atoms in the ice, they turn into energetic charged particles called muons, moving in the same direction. Because these muons (and other debris from the collision) are moving faster than light can travel through ice, they radiate a shock wave of blue Cherenkov radiation visible to IceCube’s photodetectors.

  • Re:Wrong Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:49PM (#34634684) Homepage

    I think one of the neatest things about Ice Cube is that it is essentially using the entire freaking planet earth as a filter for muon sources other than neutrino interactions. It can detect what direction a source of Cherenkov radiation came from, and if it came from the direction of the sky then it's vastly more likely to have been caused by some other form of cosmic ray and neutrino interactions would be completely lost in the noise. Neutrinos can pass through the whole planet with ease, though, so by subtracting out the sky-originating muons, they are left with the probable neutrinos.

    In fact I remember a Slashdot article from a while back where they took the data that they usually subtract out as non-neutrino noise and analyzed it, and were able to make some interesting discoveries about cosmic rays. Oh hey, found the article: []

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982