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The world's first neutrino observation in a hydrogen bubble chamber. It was found Nov. 13, 1970, in this photograph from the Zero Gradient Synchrotron's 12-foot bubble chamber. The invisible neutrino strikes a proton where three particle tracks originate (lower right). The neutrino turns into a mu-meson, the long center track (extending up and left). The short track is the proton. The third track (extending down and left) is a pi-meson created by the collision.
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Argonne National Laboratory

Neutrinos

The neutrino is an extremely light particle. (You definitely couldn't weigh one on your bathroom scale!) It also has no electric charge.

Fusion reactions in the Sun produce neutrinos. By detecting these neutrinos, scientists can learn about the inside of the Sun.

Billions of neutrinos from the Sun pass through the Earth without interacting with anything (they may be passing through your hands right now!). Large detectors are actually able to find some neutrinos.

Click here for a brief history of the neutrinos.

Most of the neutrinos that reach Earth from space come from the Sun (called solar neutrinos). Neutrinos are also released when cosmic gamma rays hit the Earth's atmosphere. Other sources of neutrinos are exploding stars (supernovae), relic neutrinos (from the big bang) and nuclear power plants.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA