Russia Deploys Giant Telescope Baikal-GVD Under Lake Baikal
Its name is Lake Baikal and is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the World.
Russian astronomers decided to build a giant telescope and put it in Lake Baikal.
I know what you’re thinking: what?
Well, actually it’s a space telescope. It’s just… a very special one.
Follow me to get to know more about the giant telescope Baikal-GVD that has been launched underwater to peer deep into the universe!
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Yeah, guys, I know. It sounds weird: a space telescope underneath the surface of a lake.
I see your point: every time we think about a space telescope, the first thing that comes to mind is something like the Hubble Space telescope, that amazed us with this sort of images: (show images from Hubble space telescope), or maybe we recall the famous Spitzer space telescope or Chandra, that gave us infrared images or x-ray images (show pics from spitzer and Chandra).
But this time is different.
Russian scientists launched one of the world’s biggest underwater space telescopes to peer deep into the universe from the pristine waters of Lake Baikal. At this point, we ask ourselves what type of experiments we can conduct underwater. How is it possible to conduct astrophysics studies with a telescope in a lake?
Well, have you ever heard of Neutrinos? In the study of physics, one has to deal with the matter and its components: the elementary particles.
Elementary particles are the simplest components of matter, but they are not part of the atoms that make up matter, they are outside. They are indivisible (ie they are not composed of even simpler particles) and are devoid of electric charge: therefore they are … neutral. And most importantly, they have an extremely small mass. A neutrino is an elementary particle
that interacts only via the weak interaction and gravity. The neutrino is so named because it is electrically neutral and because its rest mass is so small that it was long thought to be zero. The rest mass of the neutrino is much smaller than that of the other known elementary particles excluding massless particles.
Small neutrinos are the most abundant particles in the universe but, despite this, they very rarely interact with matter. Just think: they can go through enormous thicknesses undisturbed and even an entire planet – the Earth, for example – and perhaps even travel the Universe for eternity without being blocked by anything.
So, resuming, here are ten quick facts about neutrinos:
1. Trillions of harmless particle stream through you every second, night or day.
2. They are the second most abundant particle in the universe (after particles of light called photons).
3. Neutrinos rarely interact with anything—a lightyear of lead would stop only about half of the neutrinos coming from the sun.
4. About 15 billion neutrinos from the Big Bang are in the average room.
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