Watch What Happens in the LHC When Two Proton Beams Collide at Near-Light Speed

Thursday, 09 April 2015 - 3:29PM
Physics
Thursday, 09 April 2015 - 3:29PM
Watch What Happens in the LHC When Two Proton Beams Collide at Near-Light Speed
The Large Hadron Collider finally returned to the land of the living on Sunday, ready to discover dark matter, detect miniature black holes, and play host to operas. But what actually happens inside the most powerful particle accelerator in the world? This amazing gif demonstrate what happens when two proton beams collide at near-light speeds:

Watch What Happens Inside the LHC When Two Proton Beams Collide at Near-Light Speeds
[Credit: YouTube/bodhisattva prajnananda]

Inside the LHC, beams of protons are generated when an electric field essentially picks off the electrons from hydrogen atoms. The beams are then sent in opposite directions and accelerated to incredibly high speeds, a fraction of a second less than the speed of light, over the course of a 17-mile loop. When the beams inevitably have a violent collision, they explode into a mass of even smaller and more exotic subatomic particles. 

In order to collide the beams, the billions upon billions of protons are squeezed into a width of less than a human hair. "The particles are so tiny that the task of making them collide is akin to firing two needles 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) apart with such precision that they meet halfway," CERN wrote in its official description of the Large Hadron Collider.

Here's another gif that depicts two beams colliding within the LHC:

Watch What Happens Inside the LHC When Two Proton Beams Collide at Near-Light Speeds
[Credit: YouTube/Particle Fever]

Via Business Insider.
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