A neutrino is a weakly interacting electrically neutral subatomic particle. That is a mouthful to say that neutrinos don’t have an electric charge, so they are not affected by electromagnetic forces and normally pass through matter.
Sven Lidstrom, IceCube/NSF
Naturally, scientists are more than a little curious about neutrinos. But how do you analyze something that doesn’t interact with matter or other particles (except occasionally)? The answer is IceCube.
The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a neutrino telescope that was constructed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Thousands of sensors are spread out over a cubic kilometer under the Antarctic ice designed to measure the flux, or rate, of high-energy neutrinos and try to identify some of their sources.
IceCube consists of spherical optical sensors called Digital Optical Modules (DOMs), each with a photomultiplier tube and a single board data acquisition computer which sends digital data to the counting house on the surface above the array.
After completion in 2010, IceCube has detected the second highest-energy neutrino ever observed that came from outside the solar system. Considering that billions of neutrinos pass through our bodies unnoticed every second (mostly produced by our own sun), this is a pretty significant discovery.
– Ex astris, scientia –
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