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How big would a neutrino telescope have to be?

  1. Apr 15, 2014 #1

    The IceCube neutrino detector array in the antartic is a cubic kilometer and has deceted about 28 neutrinos from outside the solar system. So the resolution is almost nothing.

    I am wondering how large a detector array would have to be to serve as a telescope to observe what I am calling the Cosmic Neutrino Background from the big bang so we could see farther back than we can observing the Cosmic Microwave Background.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2014 #2


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    The neutrino spectrum is difficult to convert into an equivalent optical resolution. It's probably more a case of time than aperture. Neutrino's are more difficult to collect than photons.
  4. Apr 15, 2014 #3


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    I don't understand this. What "resolution" are you referring to?

    The energy resolution depends on the spectral resolution of the detectors. The spatial resolution depends on how well one can reconstruct the path of the neutrino based on the Cherenkov light. The more and smaller the detectors you can surround the ice, the higher the spatial resolution you can detect. The size of the ice isn't the issue, the same way the size of the water tank used in many of these detection isn't an issue as far as resolution is concerned.

    The size, however, will increase the detection probability. Maybe you are confusing detection sensitivity with resolution.

  5. Apr 15, 2014 #4


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    Neutrino cross-sections are extremely energy dependent. IceCube succeeds because it looks for high-energy neutrinos, TeV or greater. The cosmic neutrino background is expected to be about 2 Kelvins, in the micro-eV range.
  6. Apr 16, 2014 #5
    If you want unbeatable look-back times you got to go for pulsar timing arrays, they should be able to directly detect gravitational waves from around inflation.
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