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Looking through the earth... at the sun !




That’s right! This picture was created at night by looking through the earth at the sun.

It wasn’t made with light though — the image visualizes the flux of neutrinos coming from the sun. Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles created in the nuclear furnace of the sun, and they can pass through nearly anything. Billions of neutrinos shoot through our bodies every second, and they fly with ease through the rocky bulk of the earth.

Scientists have built a giant neutrino observatory in an abandoned mine shaft 3,000 ft below Mount Kamioka in Japan. It’s called the Super-Kamiokande - and it’s essentially a 13 million gallon tank of ultra-pure water, rigged with sensors that can detect the extremely weak interaction of neutrinos with other matter. This picture shows the tank when it is empty and undergoing renovations.

The observatory looks down  through the earth itself — to collect data from solar neutrinos. This image is the result of about 18 months of data collection. (Why does the observatory need to be underground? The rock shelters the observatory from the noise of cosmic rays.)

Source : Skunk Bear

Sun image : Robert Svoboda and K. Gordan / Super-K image : courtesy of Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institue for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo.

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