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Space Japan Science

Thanks to Neutrino Detector, We Might Get a Good Look At the Next Supernova 85

Posted by timothy
from the let's-stay-out-of-the-actual-blast-radius dept.
sciencehabit writes "The last star to go supernova in the Milky Way—that astronomers know of—exploded in 1604, before Galileo first turned a telescope to the heavens. But with a neutrino detector now being built within a Japanese mountain that could come online as early as 2016, researchers might be able to do something as yet undone: Make detailed observations of a supernova in our galaxy before it visibly explodes. First, astronomers would be alerted to the unfolding event by the flood of neutrinos generated when a supernova collapses. Within minutes, they could determine the general area of the sky where the explosion would occur, point their infrared telescopes in that direction, and wait for the fireworks. With the new sensor in place, instruments—especially infrared telescopes—would have an almost 100% chance of observing the next supernova in our galaxy, the researchers report."
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Thanks to Neutrino Detector, We Might Get a Good Look At the Next Supernova

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  • by littlewink (996298) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @01:23AM (#45316137)

    Concentrated fissionable material produce antineutrinos.

    What better way to enlarge the NSA's purview than to let it take a chunk out of the particle physics budget by controlling neutrino detection technology?

  • It's good that the Japanese are funding this, because at the rate European and US basic research funds are going, I doubt we'll be able to detect much of anything by 2016...
    • by burni2 (1643061)

      Well, judging from the debt rate of UA and European States, we will get to build such a device.

      Japan, actually engages in fueling their economy with debt-money, (we have seen similar matters in UA and EU States, subsidized new car programm "for the environment")

      Keep in mind Japan has 200% debt rate, so the total amount of goods and money generate in the country is only half of the debt value, but it's Japan sourced debt.
      All japanese people own japan two times ;)

      This means in terms of house owners spoken, th

    • I doubt we'll be able to detect much of anything by 2016...

      The NSA will just hack the detector, and probably have the data before the Japanese scientists.

      No need to spend money on building expensive scientific experiment instruments any more. Let someone else do that. Just grab the data . . . that's all that matters anyway.

      In the same way the NSA could help NASA by hijacking other countries space programs' data. Or maybe that is already being done . . .

    • by khallow (566160)

      It's good that the Japanese are funding this, because at the rate European and US basic research funds are going, I doubt we'll be able to detect much of anything by 2016...

      If any of this was important to you, you could try funding it yourself with the help of like-minded people. My take is that everyone in the world right now is going through an entitlement binge. That's going to mean less public funding of basic research and other such stuff, globally.

      I suppose we could just give up and let whoever still can suck from the public teat do all the research, or we can just find other sources of funding and keep going. Assuming, of course, that this actually is important to yo

  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @03:56AM (#45316403)

    There are about 8 comparable telescopes...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_neutrino_experiments [wikipedia.org]

    Which makes me wonder why this one is more likely than any of the others to detect a supernova.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      Better directional accuracy because of an improved detection system?

    • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:15AM (#45317533) Journal
      There are several features that you need to detect supernovae with neutrinos: good direction resolution, large enough mass to detect multiple neutrinos from the supernova and low enough energy sensitivity. Detectors like IceCube have a huge mass (1 km^3 of ice) and good directional accuracy but they cannot detect the low energy neutrinos from a supernova. Other detectors in the list use chemical methods (neutrinos will cause inverse beta decay) but these have the mass and energy sensitivity but give no directional information. This is the first experiment to have the right mix of all the parameters.
  • by echusarcana (832151) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:33AM (#45317105)
    The article is technically accurate but this isn't anything new. And yes, neutrinos will arrive before the light from an exploding supernova. There is already a large detector filled with heavy water that can do this in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It has been around for a decade. And this is one of the things it is advertised to do.

    http://www.snolab.ca/ [snolab.ca]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_Neutrino_Observatory [wikipedia.org]
    • by Deflagro (187160)

      I am actually from Sudbury and was shocked to hear about this when it first was proposed. I'm glad they found a use for all those mines. A pretty cool thing for such a remote little town.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:43AM (#45317631) Journal
    I guess astronomers were tired of 10 year old kids repeatedly discovering [universetoday.com] supernovas [universetoday.com] before they did.
  • The last star to go supernova in the Milky Way—that astronomers know of—exploded in 1604

    Only out by about 20,000 years.

    • Well, okay, unless you're talking about the reference frame of one of the photons from the supernova, in which case, spot on.

  • I'd be more interested in someone making a neutrino detector sensitive enough to detect the silicon burning stage just before the supernova explodes. That would give a day of warning.
  • Past performance is indicative of future results.

  • The last star to go supernova in the Milky Wayâ"that astronomers know ofâ"exploded in 1604,

    Leaving aside the quibbles about the date of the explosion compared to the date of the light reaching the Earth, this still isn't true. There was likely a supernova in the disc of the galaxy (whose light reached Earth) in the 1870s or 1880s. But since it was on the far side of a dense gas/ dust cloud, it wasn't visible. It's only in the last few years that IR telescopes and radio telescopes have managed to d

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

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