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Not strictly as astronomy but certainly affects it in a big way. A few days ago physicists at the OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) in Italy and CERN released extraordinary news that they seem to Neutrinos travelling FASTER than the speed of light. Obviously this is bad news for Special Relativity which states that nothing can travel faster than light. The neutrinos were beamed from CERN to the OPERA detector below Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy a distance of 455 miles and the time taken measured to deduce the particles’ speed. The neutrinos are arriving 60 nanoseconds earlier than they would if the neutrinos had been travelling at the speed of light (which was the assumption).

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They’re being rightly cautious however. If the measurements are correct we’d have to throw out much of understanding that we take for granted. The scientists are appealing to the broader scientific community to help them understand the results or find some mistake in the calculations or process.

Just had to use this old photo of the SPS at CERN because it reminds me of TV’s “The Time Tunnel” 😉

More on the Beeb here 

and again on the Beeb with Prof Brian Cox here

and on Nature here

 

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