The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment has been designed to study ultra-high-energy (UHE) cosmic neutrinos by detecting the radio pulses emitted by their interactions with the Antarctic ice sheet. This is to be accomplished using an array of 32 radio antennas (cylindrically arranged with an approximate radius of 3m and a height of 5m) suspended from a helium balloon flying at a height of about 35,000 meters.[1]

The ANITA 3 experiment in Antarctica, prior to being launched on a balloon.

The neutrinos, with energies on the order of 1018 eV, produce radio pulses in the ice because of the Askaryan effect. It is believed that these high-energy cosmic neutrinos result from interaction of ultra-high-energy (1020 eV) cosmic rays with the photons of the cosmic microwave background radiation. It is thus hoped that the ANITA experiment can shed light on the origin of these cosmic rays.[2]

Experimental time frame

ANITA-I launched from McMurdo, Antarctica in the summer of 2006-07. The array should travel around the continent with the circumpolar winds for approximately a month before being recovered by the CSBF. Each successive mission (if funded) would be at two year intervals. ANITA-II, a modified instrument with 40 antennas, launched from McMurdo Station in the summer of 2008-2009. ANITA-III, expected to improve sensitivity by a factor of 5-10, launched in December 2014.

ANITA is currently being funded by NASA.

The current ANITA collaboration team includes members from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of California, Los Angeles, The Ohio State University, The University of Delaware, The University of Kansas, Washington University, the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, University College London and the National Taiwan University.
See also

IceCube Neutrino Observatory
Radio Ice Cerenkov Experiment
Neutrino telescope
Encounters at the End of the World


"ANITA: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna".

"High flyer listens for cosmic pings". New Scientist. 23 December 2006.

External links

Tuning into UHE Neutrinos in Antarctica - The ANITA Experiment
University of California article
University of Hawaii article

Physics Encyclopedia

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