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Maximum power in search of dark matter: CERN begins the most critical experiment in its history on the day of the epic solar eclipse on April 8

Maximum power in search of dark matter: CERN begins the most critical experiment in its history on the day of the epic solar eclipse on April 8 1
Photo: Luke Viatur

The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator will start up in two years, embarking on an experiment never before done at this intensity: It will collide protons with each other on April 8 with the aim of searching for invisible particles that make up dark matter¸ which theoretically makes up 26 to 28% of the “total”, (or rather of what we can observe), universe but we have never been able to detect it.

The spectacle will be visible to about 32 million people along a narrow line across North and Central America and will be the first total solar eclipse in the US since August 2017.

Theoretical models suggest there are 17 different groups of dark matter particles, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, confirmed their existence using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

Now, the team has restarted the LHC after a two-year hibernation in hopes of uncovering the mysterious particles that make up dark matter.

Scientists began preliminary tests by sending billions of protons around the LHC’s ring of superconducting magnets to boost their energy and ensure the $4 billion facility was up and running.

So next month, CERN will accelerate protons down a 27 km long tunnel to nearly the speed of light to recreate conditions that existed one second after the theoretical Big Bang.

At full power, trillions of protons racing around the LHC accelerator 11,245 times a second and traveling just 11.26 km per hour less than the speed of light!

The first attempt to restart CERN was made on March 8th but this did not take place due to mechanical failures. Operations resumed three days earlier, running the accelerator in cold mode, and on the 11th it only reached its nominal power, which many people noticed:

Maximum power in search of dark matter: CERN begins the most critical experiment in its history on the day of the epic solar eclipse on April 8 2

Starting from March 11, these two strange rays are chasing through some kind of “reverse optics”, and on April 8 a big event is planned, when the energy of the proton beams becomes maximum possible and the rays collide. 

What could possibly go wrong on a Solar Eclipse day?

The LHC will continue the experiment later this year, when it will then go into a long hibernation to convert CERN into its next version – the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC).

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The accelerator is located 396 m underground on the border of France and Switzerland and was first commissioned on 10 September 2008.

The LHC works by smashing protons together to break them apart and discover the subatomic particles inside them and how they interact. CERN researchers use protons because they are heavier particles.

The weight allows for much less energy loss per turn through the accelerator as opposed to other particles such as the photon.

The purpose of the LHC is to let scientists test predictions of different particle physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson, or God particle, which has been a missing piece of the puzzle for physicists trying to understand how the universe works .

Scientists believe that a fraction of a second after the Big Bang that gave birth to the universe, an invisible energy field, called the Higgs field, formed.

As the particles passed through the field, they gained mass, giving them size and shape and allowing them to form the atoms that make up everything around you and everything in the universe.

This was the theory proposed in 1964 by former high school student Professor Higgs and now it has been confirmed.

And while the particles almost immediately disintegrated during the LHC experiment, scientists discovered that they left behind a fingerprint revealing their existence.

The LHC is normally only used for one month each year, but has been shut down for long periods for upgrades – it was last switched off in 2022 amid Europe’s energy crisis.

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The builders of CERN have, of course, the right to choose any preference date – after all, they built everything. But the fact is that on April 8 a solar eclipse is due to occur, for which a lot of things have already been predicted, including three days of darkness. Therefore, we don’t even know how everything will go there. 

This will be one of the longest solar eclipses in recent years. In parallel with this, the Sun is approaching the peak of its activity, which is why the star will be stormy – flares and coronal mass ejections are expected. There may also be a flash that will be visible even from behind the Moon’s shadow.

A solar eclipse is not the only feature that can be seen in the sky during this period. Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, or the “devil’s comet,” which has reached the fifth magnitude, is also approaching the Sun. During the eclipse, it will also be visible in the sky.

And even if the world does not crumble into dust on April 8, there will be another interesting date on September 29. So, on September 29, 1954, France and Germany established the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which the rest later joined. In 2024, the office will turn 70 years old and scientists will have some kind of closed party:

Has CERN planned for the main fireworks display somewhere on this glorious day?

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