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Published by: api-26470372 on May 13, 2010
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Neutrinos, new tool
for astronomy
New ideas for astronomic telescope
Scientific American
(may 2010) brought an articlenamed “Through Neutrino Eyes” by Graciela Gelmini,Alexander Kusenko and Thomas j. Weiler. In theheading of this article you can read :
Neutrinos are no longer just a curiosity of physics,but a practical tool for astronomy.
Their plan is to build a big detector, not only for neutrinodetection, but also for analyzing neutrinos direction fromouter space, and also disclose what kind of 
neutrinos in question they get detected, and where inthe universe they might come from.Neutrinos come in three versions, called flavors. In thebasic form, the electron
has a strenge ability tometamorphose, giving two other flavors, such as themuon type
or the tau-neutrino
t. .
But whereas the electron, the muon and the tau have spesific masses, the three neutrinoflavors has not. If one try to measure a neutrino with a given flavor, we get only one of three at random, with a certain probability for each. Neutrinos thus violate the basicintuition we have about objects. As such particles fly through the space, their flavor isunimportant. It is their mass state that dictates their behavior. This process is whatcauses the neutrinos to meta-morphose. By the princip of quantum mechanics, eachmass correspond to a wave with a certain wavelength. To use an acouistic metaphor, aneutrino is like a sound wave consisting of three pure tones. Pict.1
How does this “weird” telescope work ?
The top of the pict.1 has following text : “A neutrino reveals itself by colliding with an atomicnucleus, and unleashing a charged particle – eitheran electron or one of its close relatives, the muon and tau – neutrinos, which in turnemits visible light or radio waves.Such events are rare, so astronomers must monitor a large volume of matter to see adecent number of them. Water, either liquid or frozen, is the usual medium of choise; itis fairly dense (maximizing the chance of a collision), yet transparent (letting theresulting light be seen)”.The
so called
detector will have a volume of 1 km
, with location on the SouthPole Station. 86 light detectors are placed in 1.4 km deep holes in the ice-mass, muchlike the Amanda detector. Angular resolution should be 1-2 degrees, energy range 10
eV, and estimated completion in 2011. From the 86 highly sensitive light detectors,a large amounts of data goes to a computor. (bottom pict.1)
What about neutrinos direction and their flavor ?
The path of one of the three alternative neutrinos, the electron- muon- or tau neutrinowill emit light (shown as the yellow streak in pict.1) and the light detectors will make aprecise timing of the arrival of this light in the IceCub, and also the color, thus making itpossible to calculate the direction and the kind of flavor the neutrino had. The scientistsknow which color pattern each of them will produce. (Pict.2)

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