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Russia is watching neutrinos in Lake Baikal

 Russia is watching neutrinos in Lake Baikal

Russian scientists have deployed one of the largest underwater space telescopes in the world to observe neutrinos and delve into the universe through the pure waters of Lake Baikal.

The telescope, called the Baikal-GVD, has been under construction since 2015 and submerged between 750 and 1,300 meters deep, about four kilometers off the shore of the lake.

Russia is watching neutrinos in Lake Baikal

It is very difficult to detect neutrinos - the smallest particles currently known - but water is an effective way to do so.

These particles can travel long distances without interacting with any other forms of matter, which makes them difficult to discover and study, but they can teach us a lot about the history of the universe.

The floating observatory consists of hundreds of spherical units made of glass and stainless steel attached to the surface by a set of cables.

These sensors currently occupy an area of ​​500 cubic meters, and more sensors are planned to be added to make the telescope larger over time, measuring one cubic kilometer.

The scientists explained that the units were carefully lowered into the frozen water through a rectangular hole in the ice.

"There is a neutrino telescope with a size of half a cubic kilometer directly under our feet," Dmitry Naumov of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research said while standing on the frozen lake surface.

He added that the Baikal telescope will compete with the IceCube, a giant neutrino observatory buried under Antarctic ice at an American research station in Antarctica.

Russian scientists say: The telescope is the largest neutrino detector in the Northern Hemisphere and Lake Baikal - the largest freshwater lake in the world - is ideal for housing the floating observatory.

"Lake Baikal is the only lake where you can deploy a neutrino telescope because of its depth," Bair Shoibonov of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research told AFP.

He added: Fresh water is important, water clarity is also important, and the fact that there is an ice cover for between two and two and a half months is also very important.

The telescope is the result of a collaboration between scientists from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia and Slovakia.