The Super-Kamiokande
December 5, 2009 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Hi-res pictures of the Super-Kamiokande, a neutrino detector in Japan. The Super-Kamiokande, also known as the Super-K, is used to detect neutrinos, electrically neutral particles that are able to pass through matter. Effectively, it's a giant pool with walls made of phototubes used to detect Cherenkov radiation emitted by the interaction between neutrinos and electrons in the water. But even if you didn't understand any of that, it's still shiny and neat to look at.
posted by Chan (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
CERN should aim their beam at this detector just to fuck with the Japanese scientists.

yes, I know this is impossible for at least 100 different reasons
posted by ymgve at 9:06 PM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Where do the robots come out?
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:21 PM on December 5, 2009

How do I turn Cherenkov radiation into a nightlight?
A little googling and I found these. But they are just not the same.
posted by Balisong at 9:24 PM on December 5, 2009

Just shine UV onto a gin and tonic.
posted by Artw at 9:45 PM on December 5, 2009

"Is this bubble shiny enough? Check. Is this bubble shiny enough? Check." ad infinitum.
posted by pedmands at 9:53 PM on December 5, 2009

suggest addition of sciencepron tag
posted by mhjb at 10:09 PM on December 5, 2009

CERN should aim their beam at this detector just to fuck with the Japanese scientists.

J-PARC is on it:

T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) is a particle physics experiment that is a collaboration between several countries, including Japan, Canada, and Britain. The experiment itself will take place in Japan. T2K is a second generation long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment. The J-PARC facility will produce an intense off-axis beam of muon neutrinos. The beam is directed towards the Super-Kamiokande detector, which is 295 km away. The main goal of T2K is to measure the oscillation of νμ to νe and to measure the value of θ13, one of the parameters of the Maki–Nakagawa–Sakata matrix.

J-PARC Construction Photos

J-PARC (Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex) is a high intensity proton accelerator facility. It is a joint project between KEK and JAEA and is located at the Tokai campus of JAEA. J-PARC aims for the frontier in materials and life sciences, and nuclear and particle physics. High intensity proton beams lead to a high intensity secondary beam, e.g., neutron, meson, neutrino beam. -
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:20 PM on December 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

The irony: it can't detect Godzilla.
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 PM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe you missed this news on the Super-K though (from November 2001, when we were all kind of distracted):

On November 12, 2001, about 6,600 of the photomultiplier tubes (costing about $3000 each) in the Super-Kamiokande detector imploded, apparently in a chain reaction as the shock wave from the concussion of each imploding tube cracked its neighbours. ... In July 2005, preparations began to restore the detector to its original form by reinstalling about 6,000 PMTs. The work was completed in June 2006, whereupon the detector was renamed SuperKamiokande-III.
posted by woodblock100 at 10:51 PM on December 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

I know this is impossible for at least 100 different reasons

Perhaps impossible for CERN to aim at this thing, but other people have had the same idea. The Super-K is being - and has been - 'shot at', from hundreds of kilometers away: K2K, T2K.
posted by woodblock100 at 11:01 PM on December 5, 2009

mhjb: suggest addition of sciencepron tag

posted by Chan at 11:12 PM on December 5, 2009

That's going to be where the resonance cascade happens. I just know it.
posted by dazed_one at 11:17 PM on December 5, 2009

Each little tube contains a human baby to provide power to the machine with its life essence.

Hush. It's the best search engine in the world, and who are we to look behind the curtain?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:41 PM on December 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

" All right, fine, I might have used a few unorthodox parts. "
posted by Artw at 11:43 PM on December 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

I know this is impossible for at least 100 different reasons

not impossible at all actually. neutrinos are produced in a wide variety of nuclear reactions, and, being so weakly interactive with most matter, pass readily through just about anything, including the earth. (to create an effective shield that could block neutrinos would require about a light-year of solid lead. for real. no fooling) neutrino detectors regularly pick up the emissions from nuclear power plants all over the planet. when you hear about 'international monitoring of irans nuclear program' on the news, they're talking about neutrino detectors.

neutrinos are weird little buggers. a trillion of them pass through your hand every second. most of them in our neighborhood are produced in the core of the sun, pass through it as if it weren't even there and arrive on earth (and mostly pass through it) minutes later. in contrast, the gamma-ray photons produced in the same fusion reactions in the sun's core can take a million years to reach the surface and be emitted as light. the super-kamiokande has actually taken a long-exposure image of the suns core using it's neutrino emissions. (i have it somewhere in a back issue of sky and telescope but i cant seem to get google to produce it...dont get all excited...its just kind of a fuzzy blur). neutrinos are also produced copiously during core collapse immediately preceding a supernova explosion, and when these cascades are detected, they serve as an early-warning signal to astronomers that something big is blowing the hell up.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:40 AM on December 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

sexyrobot is correct, we physicists aren't very good at mounting a big chunk of Geneva on gimbals and pointing it at Japan. Last time we tried it, we used the wrong telemetry* and hit some little lizard on Ogasawara Islands somewhere.

*(It turned out the neutron flow had the polarity reversed again. Some bloody scottish doctor had mucked around in the control room while the staff were trying to figure out who had packed the casing of a security camera full of jelly babies.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:14 AM on December 6, 2009

See also Gursky.
posted by maledictory at 1:58 AM on December 6, 2009

Neutrino detectors can actually "see" nuclear power reactors from hundreds of km away. (if you got enough years of data you could actually see them from even further away - long enough data capture and a static detector could spot them right through the earth's core.)

There's an experiment in Japan right now called KamLAND which is within detector range of 53 nuclear power stations and they're actually using the neutrinos that the reactors emit to test theories of neutrino decay.
posted by atrazine at 6:00 AM on December 6, 2009

Ooh! Ooh! Can I make my physics joke here?

If they discover a companion particle to the Higgs boson, it'll be a boson's mate!

Huh? Huh? Boson's mate...? Get it?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:16 AM on December 6, 2009

I shot video of some neutrinos the other day, but YouTube took it down because of the music soundtrack I added.
posted by neuron at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2009

The irony: it can't detect Godzilla.

No, but it can detected Mechagodzilla.

(By the way, it is so wrong that Firefox (Mac) recognizes Godzilla as a valid word, but not Mechagodzilla. When will the fleshy tyranny end?)
posted by The Bellman at 4:41 PM on December 6, 2009

I had one of those pics as a desktop background 5 years ago! The detector was built in 1996, then destroyed in an accident soon after (all those glass balls broke) and rebuilt in 2007.

If you're in the midwestern US, you can take a road trip to the smaller but almost as cool looking neutrino detector at Soudan State Park in northern Minnesota. They offer tours daily during the summer. It's located so they can shoot beams of neutrinos at it from Fermilab (near Chicago), more than 400 miles away.
posted by miyabo at 5:34 AM on December 7, 2009

So this makes sense. Davros would have made the inside of a Dalek highly sensitive to radiation. After all it was waves of nuclear war that led to Davros creating the robotic shell for the Daleks to live inside.
posted by Babblesort at 8:53 AM on December 7, 2009

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