Neutrino Observatory in India

India is constructing a giant Neutrino Observatory (INO) in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu, India.

  • The INO is a particle physics research project to primarily observe and study atmospheric neutrinos.
  • The project is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters and will be a multi-institute collaboration.
  • The project is located in a deep 2 km tunnel as it reduces the noise from the extant cosmic rays and identifies the rare neutrino interactions.
  • The scale of the project makes it one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.
  • On completion, the main 51000 ton magnetized iron calorimeter (ICAL) experimental of the INO is expected to include the world’s largest magnet.
  • This magnet will be four times larger than the 12,500-tonne magnet currently in the Compact Muon Solenoid detector at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • While the project was initially due to be completed in 2015, its construction got delayed by the late clearance from the Ministry of Environment(India) as it was to located in the Bodi West Hills Reserved Forest in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Project officials have assured that the INO project measures only cosmic rays and will not disturb the ecosystem around the site and nor will it release any radiation, as it does not have any radioactive substance.
  • The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,500 crores.

What is a neutrino?

A neutrino is an even smaller subatomic particle that, while similar to an electron, has no electrical charge. It has a very small mass, which researchers believe might even be a zero. They are one of the most abundant particles in the universe and their study helps in understanding the nature of the universe.

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