Scientists were amazed by seeing oscillating neutrinos for the first time by a detector at the Fermilab recorded by the NOvA, NuMI Off-Axis Electron Neutrino Appearance, a research project focused on high-energy particle physics.
They team that was running the project said that this evidence meant the detector is working as planned, predicted by the group at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab, according to NY City.
The system that the Fermilab has created is said to fire neutrinos then recapture them at the other end of the beam. The beam is reported to fire in excess to over 500 miles through the Earth.
The way the beam works is that the oscillation changes the muon neutrinos fired into another type while it is in transit which means only a small percentage of the trillions of neutrinos sent make it. It has three types called tau neutrinos, electron neutrinos, and muon neutrinos. All of them are subatomic particles produced by the sun, the ‘Big Bang’ and nuclear reactors.
Normally it is extremely difficult for scientists to observe neutrinos that act with ordinary matter, but very weakly. The findings were reported at the American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan explaining how 201 of the neutrinos were fired but only 33 made it to the detector.
As they continue to observe and analyze experiments, researchers will try to find out what the properties are of the particles that are now only vaguely understood. The research will commence now for six years, in order to gather as much data as possible.
One of the biggest question that the scientists have come across is trying to figure out which of the three types of neutrinos is the heaviest and which one is the lightest. If they could figure out the answer to that question, then they would be able to understand whether neutrinos are antiparticles in their own right…or not.