The world's first neutrino observation in a hydrogen bubble chamber.
It was found Nov. 13, 1970, in this photograph from the Zero Gradient Synchrotron's
12-foot bubble chamber. The invisible neutrino strikes a proton where three
particle tracks originate (lower right). The neutrino turns into a mu-meson, the long center track (extending up and left). The short track is the proton.
The third track (extending down and left) is a pi-meson created by the
Click on image for full size
Argonne National Laboratory
The neutrino is an extremely light particle. It has no electric charge.
The neutrino interacts through the weak force. For this reason and because it is electrically neutral, neutrino interactions with matter are extremely rare.
Fusion reactions in the Sun
produce neutrinos. By detecting these neutrinos, scientists can learn about the solar interior.
The Sun is estimated to produce some 1038 neutrinos per second (that's a lot!!). Billions of these neutrinos pass through the Earth without a single interaction (they may be passing through your hands right now!). Large and very sensitive detectors are actually able to detect neutrinos.
Click here for a brief history of
the discovery of neutrinos.
Neutrinos are produced in a variety of nuclear processes: most of
the neutrinos that reach Earth from space come from the Sun (called solar neutrinos). Neutrinos are also released when cosmic gamma rays hit the Earth's atmosphere. Other sources of neutrinos are exploding stars
relic neutrinos (according to the current theory about the
origin of the universe)
and nuclear power plants.
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