By Manager - Fri Mar 29, 12:22 am
ROME (Agencies) – Physicists at an underground laboratory have caught an ultra-rare particle in the act of reappearing.
For only the third time, scientists have detected elementary particles called neutrinos in the act of changing from one type, called muon, to another, called tau, on the several-hundred-mile trip between two laboratories.
“It proves that the muon neutrinos are some kind of Superman-type particle: They get into a phone booth somewhere in between and change into something else,” said Pauline Gagnon, a particle physicist at Indiana University, who was not involved in the experiment.
The new discovery bolsters the theory that the sneaky neutrinos oscillate from one type to another, which is why physicists detect fewer coming from the sun than predicted.
The nuclear reaction that powers the sun also produces massive numbers of solar neutrinos, tiny, uncharged particles that reach Earth and pass virtually undetected through ordinary matter, said researcher Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern in Switzerland and a member of the team that conducted the experiment, called OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus).
“Each square centimeter of your body is touched every second by 60 billion neutrinos from the sun,” Ereditato told LiveScience.