12:05 PM EDT)
MADISON, Wis. — The world’s largest
telescope, currently under construction more than a mile beneath the Antarctic
ice, is on schedule to be completed next year, according to a researcher at the
University of Wisconsin, the lead institution for a scientific project called
Ninety-five percent of the IceCube telescope, consisting of thousands of
digital optical modules developed for scientists working to understand the
universe, is already installed and operating at the South Pole, said Albrecht
Karle, a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an
interview with EE Times.
The IceCube telescope is no ordinary apparatus. With a volume of one cubic
kilometer, the instrument is pointed not to the sky, but downward towards the
center of the Earth, buried beneath tons of ice in the coldest spot in the
world. No one will ever “look through” this telescope. Instead, it will convey
its findings through vast arrays of digital sensors.
Scientists backed by the National Science Foundation are looking for very
small, very elusive particles called neutrinos that can tell scientists much
more about the universe than photons or charged particles.