In DepthAstronomy

Underwater neutrino traps take shape

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Science  02 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6537, pp. 15-16
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6537.15

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Summary

Since 2010, IceCube, a detector frozen in the ice beneath the South Pole, has snared neutrinos from deep space. The universe is awash with these fleeting, almost massless, particles, but IceCube is after a rare subset. They are messengers from distant cosmic accelerators such as supernovae, neutron stars, and black holes. IceCube has caught about 300 in its cubic kilometer of ice, but has had less success tracing them to their probable source—just two so far. Now, it is poised to get help from new detectors that trade Antarctic ice for deep northern waters. This month, researchers will begin to drop sensor strings into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily, as they embark on building the Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope. Meanwhile, a Russian team has been working on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal in Siberia, the world's deepest lake, to drop detector strings into its depths. The Gigaton Volume Detector is already half complete and taking data. A third effort, the Pacific Ocean Neutrino Explorer, hopes to deploy one or more prototype strings off the west coast of Canada next year.

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