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How the Moon Affects LHC Operations 64

New submitter NervousWreck writes "Physicists report that tidal conditions are affecting the hardware at the LHC. 'This effect has been known since the LEP days, the Large Electron Positron collider, the LHC predecessor. The LHC reuses the same circular tunnel as LEP. Twenty some years ago, it then came as a surprise that, given the 27 km circumference of the accelerator, the gravitational force exerted by the moon on one side is not the same as the one felt at the opposite side, creating a small distortion of the tunnel. Since the moon’s effect is very small, only large bodies like oceans feel its effect in the form of tides. But the LHC is such a sensitive apparatus, it can detect the minute deformations created by the small differences in the gravitational force across its diameter.'"
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How the Moon Affects LHC Operations

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  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @06:28PM (#40263493)

    They also had problems with an intermittent "rogue signals" which later turned out to match the timetable of a nearby railway. I wonder whether it could, in theory at least, detect gravity waves?

    Not without much more sensitive equipment. Projects like LIGO that look for gravity waves have 4km long tunnels that they use for laser interferometry. That gives them much more sensitivity than the LHC can dream of having with it's setup and electronics.

  • Re:Well (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:15PM (#40263977) Homepage
    With hindsight, this probably shouldn't be a big surprise. There were some reports [bbc.co.uk] earlier this year about Loch Ness having a small but measurable tidal activity; something like 1.5mm across its 35km length. Given that the instruments at the LHC are apparently so finely tuned that they can track continental drift[1], it shouldn't really come as a major revelation that they can detect lunar tidal activity across the diameter of the LHC.

    [1] Coincidentally, I found out about this as part of the whole issue over neutrinos supposedly travelling faster than light, which was finally given the official "no they don't" [web.cern.ch] by CERN today.
  • The Quantum Diaries (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spinalcold ( 955025 ) on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:39PM (#40264645)
    The Quantum Diaries is one of my favorite blogs, it's updated by particle, nuclear and plasma scientists all over the world. They have a great range of topics too, not just about the data coming out of the LHC and the range of theories, but also the life of a scientists, how papers are published, covering conferences, heck even on the day in the life of cleaning a detector. It's a field I'm working to get into, so it's especially of interest to me but I recommend it to anyone interested in the world of high energy physics.

    On a side note, there's a write up of what was talked about the the Neutrino Conference that happened last week. Even aside from faster than light travel, they are finding some very [quantumdiaries.org] weird [quantumdiaries.org] things [quantumdiaries.org]
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @03:57AM (#40266787)

    The LHC is 27KM times the number of times an beam has to be accelerated.

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