Can you picture something nine million miles across and yet is invisible? No, and neither can I or anyone else. It is a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, some 27,000 light-years away. The sun is eight light-minutes away, and the next nearest star about four light-years away. We are in an outer suburb of the galaxy. In contrast, there are dozens of stars within one light-year of that supermassive black hole, orbiting around it at speeds up to 8,000 kilometers persecond!
The NOvA experiment, best known for its measurements of neutrino oscillations using particle beams from Fermilab accelerators, has been turning its attention to measurements of cosmic phenomena. In a series of results, NOvA reports on neutrinos from supernovae, gravitational-wave events from black hole mergers, muons from cosmic rays, and its search for the elusive monopole.
Scientists have long called the expanding universe “the Big Bang,” but the term is confusing. Many people think the Big Bang is the name of the moment of the creation of the universe, but it’s really just the expanding phase. In this episode of Subatomic Stories, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains some of the speculative ideas that have been proposed about the actual and literal moment of creation.
From Wired, Sept. 22, 2020: After repurposing facial recognition technology to study galaxies and the Higgs boson, physicists think they can help shape the responsible use of AI. Fermilab scientist Brian Nord talks about how these technologies advance fundamental science and the ethical implications of their use.
The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to lead a DOE/NSF experiment that combines observatories at the South Pole and in Chile’s high desert. Fermilab plans to be a key partner on the experiment, called CMB-S4, which aims to undertake an unprecedented survey of the early universe.
Sensors for the world’s largest digital camera have snapped their first 3,200-megapixel images at SLAC. Crews at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory took the photo with an extraordinary array of imaging sensors that will become the heart and soul of the future camera of Vera C. Rubin Observatory.
We know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. In this public lecture, author and Fermilab physicist Dan Hooper examines how physicists are using the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang and to address mysteries such as how our universe came to contain so much matter and so little antimatter.