Expansion of Observation Facilities: SPUNCROP

Self-Propelled Underwater Neutrino Cherenkov Radiation Observation Platform


Expansion of Observation Facilities: SPUNCROP

Total Capital Expenditures = $67,285.00 Total

Budget Request = $67,655.50

Currently one of the most controversial topics in solar astronomy is the so-called "solar neutrino problem." Experiments around the world set up to measure the flux of high energy neutrinos (a weakly interacting uncharged subatomic particle) have detected a flux of neutrinos lower than that which is predicted by the standard solar model. More data is required before an explanation of this discovery can be formulated. We believe that the proper position of the Ryerson Astronomical Society is at the forefront of this exciting new field. The Self Propelled Underwater Neutrino Cherenkov Radiation Observation Platform or SPUNCROP will not only make the Ryerson Astronomical Society the only amateur astronomy group actively engaged in the measurement of solar neutrino flux, but it will also make SG the first student government in the world to fund such an ambitious undertaking, a fitting honor for the University of Chicago. We propose to outfit a diesel submarine with photomultiplier tubes and lurk about the bottom of Lake Michigan late at night in an effort to detect the faint flashes (known as Cherenkov Radiation) that result from the collision of solar neutrinos with water molecules. By using Lake Michigan as a detector we will not only be effectively shielded from cosmic rays, but we will also avoid the expense of containing millions of gallons of fluid; a problem in several less innovative e xperiments currently being carried out by other research institutions A further advantage of our experiment is that we will be able to detect the direction of interacting neutrinos through the use of timing data from photomultiplier tubes, providing a crude imaging capability. We propose to purchase a used diesel-electric submarine from the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. Because of the end of the Cold War combined with the poor Soviet economy, the U.S.S.R. is selling these submarines a t give-away prices. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to get a good buy on a submarine, but our support will also help the faltering economic reforms in the Soviet Union. The cost of a suitable submarine is $50,000. We will need anther $5,000 f or photomultiplier tubes and assorted electronics. $2,000 is needed to fly two members to Vladivostok to pick up the submarine and $10,000 worth of fuel will bring the submarine back to Chicago and support our first year of observations.

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