Every thing need to know about "Baikal Gigaton Volume Detector "

Russian underwater telescope in lake Baikal aimed at observing neutrinos, Water interacts with neutrinos to produce a flash of light, making it the best medium to observe. Lake Baikal facts , A Unesco World Heritage site, Located in southern Siberia, Largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, World’s deepest lake and world’s oldest lake. for UPSC, Prelims,

Russian scientists have launched a deep underwater telescope in Lake Baikal. It is called the Baikal-Gigaton Volume Detector. The purpose of the telescope is to observe neutrinos.

Baikal Gigaton Volume Detector:

On March 13, 2021, Russian scientists launched a deep underwater telescope in Lake Baikal. It is called the Baikal-Gigaton Volume Detector. The purpose of the telescope is to observe neutrinos.

Baikal: About the lake 

  1. The surface area of the lake is 31,722 kilometre square. The water volume is 23, 615 kilometre cube. Residence time is 330 years and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  2. The lake starts freezing at the end of January and temperatures in Siberia drop to -30 degree Centigrade. 
  3. It remains frozen till the month of March. Earlier, it used to remain frozen till May but now due to climate change.

About Neutrinos:

  1. These are the fundamental parts of the universe that are indivisible. Neutrinos are subatomic particles very similar to electrons but lack an electrical charge.  
  2. It has a very small mass that may be zero. These are the most abundant particles in the universe but are least easy to detect. 
  3. These belong to the lepton category. 

Other Types of Fundamental Particles:

Fermions: These include matter and antimatter particles namely , Quarks, Leptons , Antiquarks, Antileptons , Bosons: These are force particles that mediate interactions between fermions. They include

Gauge Boson

Higgs Boson

Facts about Neutrinos

Around 1000 trillion neutrinos pass through a human body every second. This means they are the second most abundant particle after light particles or photons to come in contact with the human body. The neutrinos are extremely difficult to catch though easily abundant. Neutrinos do not carry a charge. They do not interact with matter

All about Baikal Underwater Telescope:

    1. It is known as the Baikal-GVD (Gigaton Volume Detector)
    2. It's construction began in the year 2015
    3. Its objective is to study the neutrinos in detail to find their source or origin
    4. The Baikal- GVD Collaboration includes 9 institutions and organizations from 4 countries namely Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia.
    5. It is submerged at the depths of 2,500-4,300 feet below Lake Baikal
    6. The instrument has been placed at the southern part of the lake.
    7. It has a flat bottom and transparent waters (these conditions are best suited for the floating observatory).
    8. Baikal-GVD consists of a set of clusters, where each cluster can be used to independently detect high-energy neutrinos.
    9. Glass spheres containing photomultiplier tubes that detect light are placed in the lake. These are made of string, glass spheres and stainless steel. 
    10. The kind of light produced is called Cherenkov light. 
    11. The Baikal Underwater Telescope (GVD) would detect high energy neutrinos that may have come from Earth's Core or those that could have been produced by the sun. 

Why was Lake Baikal chosen?

Whenever there is an explosion, the supernova releases a massive amount (almost 99%) of its energy in the form of neutrinos. Studying them is one of the most challenging tasks for astrophysicists.  Water acts as the best medium for examining them, as it interacts with neutrinos to produce a flash of light. Moreover, Lake Baikal is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world thus it is the most, opt location for the placement of this telescope. The two other neutrino detectors apart from Baikal- GVD are known as IceCube and ANTARES which are located at the South Pole and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively.