Posted by: Chris Sandel | September 10, 2008

Beware of Black Holes Today

This just in… if you’re reading this you’re not dead.  You also aren’t hurtling through space in a black hole.  Just wanted to make sure you know before you read on because today was a scary day.  The Large Hadron Collider started up this morning at 7:32GMT and apparently it could have the ability to create a giant black hole that will suck up our entire planet as seen below.  Nice to know we are all still here.

If you don’t know much about about the Large Hadron Collider, or the LHC as it is affectionately called, here are a few basics from wikipedia

The LHC is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. The collider is contained in a circular tunnel with a circumference of 27 kilometres (17 mi) at a depth ranging from 50 to 175 metres underground. The 3.8 metre (150 inches) diameter, concrete-lined tunnel, constructed between 1983 and 1988, was formerly used to house the Large Electron-Positron Collider. It crosses the border between Switzerland and France at four points, but most of it is in France. Surface buildings hold ancillary equipment such as compressors, ventilation equipment, control electronics and refrigeration plants.

The collider tunnel contains two adjacent beam pipes, each containing a proton beam – a proton is one type of hadron. The two beams travel in opposite directions around the ring. Some 1,232 dipole magnets keep the beams on their circular path, while an additional 392 quadrupole magnets are used to keep the beams focused, in order to maximize the chances of interaction between the particles in the four intersection points, where the two beams will cross. In total, over 1,600 superconducting magnets are installed, with most weighing over 27 tonnes. Approximately 96 tonnes of liquid heliumis needed to keep the magnets at their operating temperature of 1.9 K, making the LHC the largest cryogenic facility in the world at liquid helium temperature.

Duh.  Why didn’t they just say that before.  Now I understand completely.  Sure.  If you’re looking for a more entertaining summation, that is also probably only really understandable to geeks (i.e. people smarter than me) checkout this Hadron Rap.  If you’re not so smart but like pretty pictures, there are a bunch of them here or here.   

Congrats on not being sucked into a black hole today!

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Responses

  1. Well, I guess that could have been one way to explain the “being cast into the firey pits of hell” at the “end of the world!” LOL… some people are super silly!

  2. Chris, there’s a web cam on the LHC, check it out some time: http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html.

  3. I guess know we’ll know if a black hole has formed before it reaches us (assuming it isn’t crazy fast like I anticipate it would be)


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