February 2011


!! IceCube Construction Completed December 2010 !!

IceCube is a telescope located at the South Pole at the US Amundsen-Scott station.  It is an unusual telescope in many respects.  It is buried a mile down in the Antarctic ice sheet, rather than situated at the surface.  IceCube looks down, into and through the earth, rather than up into the sky overhead.  And finally, the "light" seen by this telescope is composed of individual fundamental particles called neutrinos.  In a real sense, IceCube is opening a new window on the universe and will map the neutrino sky. 

Upon completion in 2010-11, IceCube will consist of over 5100 sensors located in a volume of about one cubic kilometer of highly transparent ice situated between 1500 and 2500 meters below the surface.  These sensors will detect the optical light emitted by other fast-moving electrically-charged particles (electrons, muons) moving upward, each of which is the result of a collision with a high-energy neutrino that penetrated the earth. IceCube will determine the directions from which the neutrinos, which have no electrical charge and practically no mass, came to us and how much energy each carried.  (See the animation at the right.) This is a new kind of astronomy, one that we hope will tell us new things about our universe.  For example, one of the goals of high-energy neutrino astronomy is to discover the origin of the extremely high-energy cosmic rays that bombard our earth.  We believe we can use neutrinos to identify the sites in the distant universe where these cosmic rays are produced.

IceCube is being built by an international collaboration of scientists and engineers.  The US funding comes from the National Science Foundation and the lead institution is the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a member of this collaboration and has several key responsibilities in the scientific and technical effort surrounding IceCube and its predecessor, AMANDA (the Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array).  Our website will tell you more about the LBNL group and its contributions to IceCube.  We welcome your comments and questions. Ask a question about IceCube

KEYWORDS: Neutrinos, Optical Sensor (DOM), Cosmic Rays

IceCube Collaboration website

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The first neutrino event observed by IceCube. A neutrino interaction below the detector produced a muon which is going nearly vertically upward. More on this event.