September 21, 2017

14.04.11: Antares: A Deep Sea Neutrino Detector.

Depiction of Antares along with a photo closeup of one of the optical detectors. 

(Credit: F.Montanet, CNRS/IN2P3 and UJF for Antares)

   A unique astrophysical observatory has taken shape on the ocean floor of the Mediterranean. ANTARES, or the Astronomy with a Neutrino Telescope and Abyss environmental RESearch project, has been fully operational since May 2008 and is in the business of detecting Cherenkov radiation flashes caused by interactions of high energy muon neutrinos with the water in the deep Mediterranean Sea. [Read more...]

Astronomy at the (Bottom?) of the World.

The SPT 2007 Team. (Credit: John Kovac/GNU Free License).

The SPT 2007 Team. (Credit: John Kovac/GNU Free License).

Some astronomers literally go to the ends of the Earth in search of data. That life-giving layer we know as the atmosphere can also be a plain ol’ nuisance when it comes to visual observing, and can make viewing in some wavelengths such as sub-millimeter, infra-red and X-ray next to impossible. Sure, viewing from space alleviates the problem, but payload weight tends to go at a premium and the line is long to use such premiere space telescopes as Hubble or Chandra. The solution? Many astronomers have taken to the Antarctic in the past decades, were the air is thin, dry, and the wonders of the southern hemisphere abound. [Read more...]