ON When I look at the stars in the black sky on a clear night, the word “calm” comes to mind. Starlight seems to speak of stability and permanence. However, hidden from the naked eye, there is an unrelenting upheaval in the vast universe. Roughly every 10 seconds, a star somewhere in the universe reaches the end of its life, collapses in on itself, and then explodes with cataclysmic ferocity.
Despite the ubiquity of nuclear collapse supernovae, we still do not fully understand what causes nuclear collapse. But elusive particles called neutrinos play a key role, and observing them in the unimaginable extreme conditions inside supernovae betrays exotic matter and forces that lead to deeper theories in particle physics. We doubt it is possible. “Supernova neutrinos contain a tremendous amount of information,” he says. joachim kopfa theoretician at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.
The problem is that supernovae are rare enough to reveal their secrets. The newest neutrino detector was born in 1987, and the 25 neutrinos he was able to capture from the explosion continue to baffle researchers to this day. This explains why so many people are excited about the new generation of neutrino detectors currently being built around the world.
The idea is that the next time a nearby star goes supernova, we’ll be ready. But it’s already late and it’s a race against time. “You can imagine how exciting…