The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector is a Japanese physics experiment, operated by the University Of Tokyo, Kamioka Observatory, and ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), and contains a golden chamber as big as a 15-story building which stores water so pure that it can dissolve metals. However, this large neutrino detector can assist scientists to identify dying stars.
Buried 1,000 meters under the Mount Ikeno, in Japan, the Super-Kamiokande is used to identify neutrinos, the sub-atomic particles that travel through space and can penetrate solid matter. By examining the neutrinos and their behavior, scientists are hoping to learn more about the Universe formation and its characteristics.
“Matter poses no obstacle to a neutrino. A neutrino could pass through a hundred light-years of steel without even slowing down,” said Neil deGrasse, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.
The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector can assist scientists to identify dying stars
Massive stars, when they die but before collapsing into black holes, eject neutrinos. Therefore, Super-Kamiokande can locate the neutrinos spit out by dying stars and can tell scientists where and when to look to observe that cosmic phenomenon.
“If there’s a supernova, a star that collapses into itself and turns into a black hole and if that happens in our galaxy, something like Super-Kamiokande is one of the very few objects that can see the neutrinos from it,” explained Dr. Yoshi Uchida of Imperial College London for the Business Insider.
According to Dr. Uchida, once every 30 years a supernova explodes within the detectable range, and if scientists miss this cosmic phenomenon, they’d have to wait for another 30 years, on average. Thus, a neutrino detector is a valuable asset in this regard.
Studying neutrinos could help scientists better understand the history of the Universe but identifying dying stars is nor the only job for the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector. The T2K experiment, located on the opposite side of Japan, shoots neutrinos beams towards Super-Kamiokando, through the Earth’s crust, for the scientists to study how these sub-atomic particles behave and oscillate as they pass through matter.