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Astronomy Tools - Advanced Methods

On the more exotic end of astronomy equipment lies neutrino and gravity wave detectors.

Neutrinos are a by-product of nuclear fusion at the cores of stars. They are also released via supernova. The weakly interactive particles pass freely through anything resulting in difficult detection. Detectors comprise of tanks containing water or some other chemical and is surrounded by photomultipliers. These detectors lie deep underground to eliminate any false readings by cosmic ray hits. While neutrinos rarely interact with other elements, they do occasionally collide with another atom. These collisions can be recorded by photomultipliers - which detect light flashes resulting from the collision.

For a detailed look into neutrinos, check out my paper on The Solar Neutrino Problem.

Gravity Wave Detection in astronomy is a new field of study. As such, there are those scientists who are skeptical that detecting gravity waves will not be possible (and a few who do not believe gravity waves exist).

Gravity waves were predicted by Albert Einstein as ripples in Space-Time resulting a very massive object interacting with another very massive object. A good example is a binary pair of stellar remnants with both members being neutron stars (or pulsars).

By using ultra-sensitive interferometers, it is the hope that gravity waves can be detected. One group that is spearheading this effort is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO. This website has just about any kind of information one can dream of regarding gravity waves.

Other groups involved in Gravity Wave research are:

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