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Pushing a new initiative in BC: The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment

September 09, 2020
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SFU Physics Assistant Professor, Dr. Matthias Danninger, is co-author on today’s (Sept 9, 2020) Nature Astronomy publication “The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment”.

The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment (P-ONE) is a new initiative towards constructing a multi-cubic-kilometre neutrino telescope to expand our observable window of the Universe. The high energy telescope will be installed within the deep Pacific Ocean underwater infrastructure of Ocean Networks Canada. If funded, the P-ONE telescope for TeV–PeV neutrinos stands to be a major scientific endeavour and a platform for major scientific collaboration in British Columbia.

Background
The Universe is opaque to very high-energy photons, limiting the horizon of γ-ray astronomy above 100 TeV primarily to our Galaxy. Neutrinos allow for the exploration of the cosmos up to the highest energy frontier. Following the IceCube Neutrino Observatory’s discovery of an astrophysical flux of neutrinos in 2013 [Aartsen, M. G. et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 021103 (2013); IceCube Collaboration Science 342, 1242856 (2013)], and the subsequent link between these neutrinos and a γ-ray emitting blazar in 2017 [IceCube Collaboration Science 361, 147–151 (2018)], a global effort has mobilized to establish dramatic improvements in the exposure to astrophysical neutrinos.

Ocean Networks Canada offers a new opportunity for the construction of a large-volume neutrino telescope. Among the various Ocean Networks Canada-powered nodes, the Cascadia Basin at a depth of 2,660 metres has been selected to host the Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment (P-ONE). P-ONE as a new telescope for TeV–PeV neutrinos will build on a highly modular deployment and maintenance approach.