Russia has sunk a neutrino observatory in the world’s deepest lake

Russia has sunk a neutrino observatory in the world’s deepest lake

Over the weekend, Russian scientists lowered a series of detectors between 2,500 and 4,300 feet below the surface of Lake Baikal (trans Phys.org). Together, these sensors form Baikal Gigaton volume detector, The largest underwater space telescope in the northern hemisphere. It will help scientists to study neutrinos. While neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe, they are also the smallest particles currently known to humans. They can also travel long distances without interacting with any other forms of the substance. These factors make it difficult to detect and study, but they can teach us a lot about The history of the universe.

Irkutsk Region, Russia - March 13, 2022: Baikal Gigatun Volume Detector (Baikal-GVD) Deep Underwater Neutrino Telescope built on Lake Baikal.  The project aims to study the flow of high-energy cosmic neutrinos and search for their sources.  The telescope was installed 3.5 km offshore in Lake Baikal at a depth of 750-1300 m.  Alexei Kushchenenko / TASS (Photo by Alexei Kushchenenko / TASS via Getty Images)

Alexei Kushchenenko via Getty Images

A joint venture between Russia, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, construction of the Baikal-GVD began in 2015. The actual “telescope” consists of hundreds of spherical units made of glass and stainless steel attached to the surface by a set of cables. These sensors currently occupy 17,657 cubic feet of space. Over time, the plan is to add more sensors to make the telescope even larger.

Irkutsk Region, Russia - March 13, 2022: The Baikal-GVD Deep Underwater Neutrino Telescope Launching Ceremony on Lake Baikal.  The project aims to study the flow of high-energy cosmic neutrinos and search for their sources.  The telescope was installed 3.5 km offshore in Lake Baikal at a depth of 750-1300 m.  Alexei Kushchenenko / TASS (Photo by Alexei Kushchenenko / TASS via Getty Images)

Alexei Kushchenenko via Getty Images

As for why these modules are placed underwater, they are a useful way to detect neutrinos, and Lake Baikal contains a lot of them. Located in southern Siberia, it is one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in the world. It is also clear and covered in ice for at least two months a year. There aren’t many places on the planet that are perfect for this type of search like Lake Baikal. The only two other telescopes that match the scale are Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory In Antarctica and Antares A deep underwater telescope in the Mediterranean Sea.

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