By knowing the sensitivity of Super-Kamiokande to muon and tau neutrinos
, the Sudbury team has been able to extrapolate that the total solar output is almost precisely what theorists have called for.
Nonetheless, scientists haven't doubted the existence of the tau neutrino
, also known as nu tau.
The most likely explanation, physicists say, is that muon neutrinos, the type produced on high, were changing into tau neutrinos
, which the detector can't pick up.
One of their goals is to observe the tau neutrino
and its interactions with matter.
Finally,the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) has endowed the 'Particle physics' area with a virtual workstation allowing users to visit the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, as well as a number of the photographic film and lead 'bricks' used in the OPERA experiment for detecting tau neutrinos
, and an interactive exhibit which reproduces particle collision.
In past experiments, physicists have measured the change of muon neutrinos to tau neutrinos
and electron neutrinos to muon neutrinos or tau neutrinos
Three types exist: muon neutrinos, electron neutrinos and tau neutrinos
These bizarre neutrino oscillations have now been confirmed at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory--the first experiment that is not essentially blind to muon or tau neutrinos
that can be traced back to the Sun (S&T: September 2001, page 18).
If the number of muon neutrinos observed in the Super-Kamiokande detector is smaller than the number right after firing, it can be concluded that the particles oscillated into tau neutrinos
, which would support the hypothesis that neutrinos have mass, they said.