NOvA Experiment Sees Neutrinos

Fermilab’s new flagship NOvA experiment has hit its first major milestone, before the project’s construction is even completed.

The experiment consists of two particle detectors that are 500 miles apart, one in Batavia and the other in Minnesota and recently saw its first neutrinos.

“We’re about a $280 million project and many of us have been working a long time, a decade or more, to put this together,” said Rick Tesarek, Deputy Project Manager for NOvA. “It’s both important for the lab because it’s the flagship program, but it’s also exciting for us who is doing the science because we’re starting to turn the detector on and we’re at a point where we’re ready to do some of the science with it.”

Neutrinos are abundant in the universe, but difficult to detect and rarely interact with other matter.

“A neutrino is like an electron that people are familiar with every day, but it doesn’t have a charge associated with it,” said Tesarek.

And studying them could help scientists know more about the early moments of the universe.

Once completed this spring, the NoVA experiment is scheduled to run for the next six years and the lab is excited to start with this success.

“It’s a big sigh of relief for us because we are in a position now to be able to detect the particles that we were looking for to start with so we’re showing the detector and the technology we’re using is now operational,” said Tesarek.

You can watch the construction live via webcam visit FNLA.gov.

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