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    Russia Deploys Giant Space Telescope In Lake Baikal

    The underwater neutrino telescope 'Baikal-GVD' was lowered to a depth of 750-1,300 meters in Lake Baikal on 13 March 2021 / Phys.org
    Russian scientists on Saturday launched one of the world's biggest underwater space telescopes to peer deep into the universe from the pristine waters of Lake Baikal. 

    Russia commissioned Baikal-GVD Baikal this week, the telescope is installed on the bottom of the Baikal Lake, which has a volume of 1 cubic meter km, providing astrophysical records in the field of science and astrophysics with unmatched accuracy. Neutrinos are very hard to detect and water is an effective medium for doing so. The floating observatory consists of strings with spherical glass and stainless steel modules attached to it.

    Dubbed Baikal-GVD, the telescope will detect high-energy neutrinos, the subatomic particles that are very similar to the electrons. Neutrinos are the key particles to unravel the nature of dark matter, the mysterious fabric that made our Universe. The deep underwater telescope costs 2.5 billion rubles and has been under construction since 2015. 

    The giant telescope was submerged to a depth of 750-1,300 meters (2,500-4,300 feet), about four kilometers from the lake's shore. Baikal-GVD will be further upgraded in 2030 with new installation and technology.  Baikal-GVD has become the largest telescope on the planet.

    The telescope will solve many astrological and scientific research tasks. ''In particular, we expect that our friends will contribute, so we will all understand how our Universe works, as we read the story of the universe as infancy galaxy''- says Valery Falkov, the Russian Minister of Science and Higher Education. 

    A neutrino is a subatomic particle that is very similar to an electron, but has no electrical charge and a very small mass, which might even be zero. Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe. Because they have very little interaction with matter, however, they are incredibly difficult to detect.—Scientific American

    The new telescope is part of the Global neural network and the telescope network which is the key element in the Northern Hemisphere, along with the Land, Icecube, ANTARES, and KM3NeT.  Russian Academy of Sciences, Nuclear Research, Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (ОИЯИ) and the Irkutsk State University are the institutes that developed Baikal-GVD in collaboration with foreign academies and scientists from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia.

    On Saturday, scientists observed the modules being carefully lowered into the freezing waters through a rectangular hole in the ice. "A neutrino telescope measuring half a cubic kilometer is situated right under our feet," Dmitry Naumov of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research told AFP while standing on the lake's frozen surface.

    In several years the telescope will be expanded to measure one cubic kilometer, Naumov said. The Baikal telescope will rival Ice Cube, a giant neutrino observatory buried under the Antarctic ice at a US research station at the South Pole, he added. Russian scientists say the telescope is the largest neutrino detector in the Northern Hemisphere and Lake Baikal—the largest freshwater lake in the world—is ideal for housing the floating observatory.

    "Of course, Lake Baikal is the only lake where you can deploy a  because of its depth," Bair Shoibonov of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research told AFP. "Freshwater is also important, water clarity too. And the fact that there is ice cover for two-two and a half months is also very important."

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