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The underwater telescope that is on the hunt for neutrinos

21 May 2019, 15:01 UTC
The underwater telescope that is on the hunt for neutrinos
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An artist’s impression of the KM3NeT telescope as it sits at the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Image credit: Edward Berbee/Nikhef/KM2NeT
Curtin University researchers in Perth, Australia, are part of an international project that will use a huge underwater neutrino telescope at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to help explain some of the most powerful and mysterious events in the Universe.
Located at two sites at depths downward to 3500 metres (11,500 feet), the KM3NeT telescope will occupy more than a cubic kilometre of water, and will comprise of hundreds of vertical detection lines anchored to the seabed and held in place by buoys when complete.
Dr Clancy James, from the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said such a huge volume of water was required to surround the instruments because neutrinos were otherwise difficult to detect.
“Neutrinos very rarely interact, however when a neutrino hits water it generates light, which the KM3NeT telescope is able to detect,” Dr James says. “The underwater telescope is bombarded by millions of different particles but only neutrinos can pass through the Earth to reach the detector from below so, unlike normal telescopes, it looks ...

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