Telescope to be built in depths of Mediterranean sea

By | January 25, 2012

The £210 million deep sea observatory will detect elusive particles known as neutrinos as they bombard the Earth from outer space.

Usually these high-energy particles pass straight through our planet unnoticed, but scientists hope that the new telescope will allow them to pick up traces the particles leave and use them to view the universe in an entirely new way.

The EU funded project, which has just been selected as a key priority in a review of European astrophysics infrastructure, promises to reveal new details about some of the most powerful events in our universe, including supernova and even the Big Bang.

The telescope, known as the Multi-Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope or KM3NeT, is also expected to reveal entirely new phenomena that still remain undiscovered as they are undetectable using conventional methods for viewing the sky.

“It is really going to open a new window on our universe,” said Dr Lee Thompson, a reader in neutrino physics at the University of Sheffield who is working on the KM3NeT project.

“Much of what we know about the universe to date has been gleaned from looking at different frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum such as visible light and X-rays.

“Using neutrinos to probe the universe is a completely new and fresh idea, so it is going to give us an entirely new perspective. …

“There are objects out there that we know are emitting neutrinos but there could be things out there that cannot be seen with the telescopes we currently use.”

A small prototype of the KM3NeT telescope is already operational off the south coast of France and it is hoped work on a larger prototype will begin within the next three years.

via Telescope to be built in depths of Mediterranean sea – Telegraph.

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