This is a bit off the topics I usually #Amplify, but when else would I get to use that headline.
Trillion of neutrinos are going through the Earth each day, and most of them miss us entirely
Every December since 2004, engineers have flown to the South Pole to drill 8,000-foot-deep holes in the ice. The team lowers cables, each strung with 60 disco-ball-size light sensors, into the holes and let them freeze over. So far they have completed 79 such holes, set in a grid half a mile on each side, and plan to drill the final seven this month. The result will be the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a cube of ice packed with 5,320 sensors looking for cosmic particles.
Detecting a neutrino, however, is a bit like trying to catch a flea with a fishing net—the particles are so small that trillions of them travel through Earth every second without even hitting an atom. So the researchers at IceCube employ a clever technique to spot indirect evidence of neutrinos.
Once IceCube’s final seven strands of sensors are in place, it will detect 100 neutrinos a day, 14 times as many as the two-year-old French neutrino detector Antares. IceCube will not only help scientists identify the source of cosmic rays, dark matter and other objects that influence the universe’s evolution, it will produce unexpected discoveries, says Francis Halzen, the principal investigator on Ice Cube. From Galileo’s refracting spyglass to the Hubble Space Telescope, he notes, every time scientists turn a higher-fidelity tool to the cosmos, they find something new. “If IceCube observes separated pairs of particles, they might be supersymmetric, a new and very different type of matter,” Klein says. “That would be extremely exciting.”