This is Super Kamiokande. The name might have sounded like a Japanese superhero you’ve heard in the 90s, but it’s actually an enormous observatory and for sure, a science freak’s dreamland. The Super Kamiokande, also known as Super-K, is designed to study proton-decay and solar and atmospheric neutrinos. And don’t even forget that it also keeps its eye on supernovae in the Milky Way Galaxy. Real super isn’t it?
The Super-K is located 1,000 meters underground in Kamioka Mining and Smelting Co.’s Mozumi Mine in Hida’s Kamioka area, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It has an enormous cylindrical stainless steel tank that is 41.4 m (135.8 ft) tall and 39.3 m (128.9 ft) in diameter holding 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water (a cleansing agent in semiconductors, not just any drinking water) and surrounded by 11,146 photomultiplier tubes (PMT). Just imagine water in a tank surrounded by inverse light bulbs.
To search for those mysterious particles called neutrinos, what scientists do is fill the huge tank with ultra-pure water. Water in, inverse light bulbs on, the light becomes electricity, and bam. When the abundant yet extremely tiny neutrino interacts with electrons or nuclei of water, it’ll make a charged particle faster than the speed of light that’ll create the Cherenkov radiation. This Cherenkov light created will give information about the traveling neutrinos.
The first evidence of neutrino oscillation and detection of the neutrinos from the supernova explosion in the Great Magellanic Cloud were some of its major successes.
Physics geeks, you’re totally gonna love this place.
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