Observing neutrinos Russia opens largest deep-water telescope in northern hemisphere

Russian scientists recently officially opened the largest underwater space telescope in the Northern Hemisphere in Lake Baikal, where researchers will use the telescope to look out at the universe from the pristine waters of Lake Baikal and conduct research in geophysics, hydrology and freshwater biology.

The deep-water telescope, called Baikal-GVD, was started in 2015 by a collaboration of scientists from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia and Slovakia to observe the smallest known particle, the neutrino. -neutrinos.

“The Baikal-GVD was eased through a rectangular hole carved out of the lake ice last Saturday (March 13) and was positioned about 4 kilometers from the lake shore at a water depth of 750 to 1,300 meters.

Scientists carefully lowered the deep-water telescope through this rectangular hole in the ice into the frozen water.

It is understood that neutrino telescopes are very large detection devices that can measure the rather rare number of ultra-high-energy neutrinos from deep in the universe and determine the orientation of the celestial sources they correspond to, usually placed deep in the ice or at the bottom of dark seas and lakes.

Since neutrinos are difficult to detect, water can serve as an effective observation medium. The floating underwater observatory consists of steel cables connecting spherical glass to a stainless steel module on top of it, which scientists carefully lower through this rectangular hole in the ice into the frozen water.

Russian scientists and officials are watching on a screen the operation of placing the neutrino telescope into the water of Lake Baikal.

“A neutrino telescope with a volume of half a cubic kilometer is at our feet, and in the next few years this telescope will be expanded to a cubic kilometer,” Dmitry Naumov, a researcher at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Energy, told AFP while standing on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal.

Russian scientists say Baikal-GVD is the largest neutrino detector in the northern hemisphere, and Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake, is ideally suited to house the floating observatory.

The crystal-clear Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake. (Sergey Pesterev/Wikipedia)

Bair Shoibonov of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Energy Research says Baikal is the only lake where a neutrino telescope can be deployed because of its depth, and it’s important that it’s a freshwater lake because the clarity of the water is very important. Also, the fact that there is an ice coverage period of two to two and a half months is an important factor.

The Baikal telescope will rival a huge “Ice Cube” neutrino observatory under the ice cap of the US Antarctic Research Station.