Not so fast: neutrinos don’t exceed light speed

We now have yet another indication that neutrinos cannot travel faster than the speed of light after all, provided by a neighbor of the OPERA detector that set off the fuss in the first place. OPERA’s detector sits deep underground at Gran Sasso in Italy, where it receives neutrinos from a beam generated at CERN, 730km away on the French-Swiss border. Because the neutrino beam spreads out over the intervening distance, it’s possible to run multiple detectors at the same site, all listening in on the same beam. The team running one of Gran Sasso’s other detectors (called ICARUS) has now performed time-of-flight measurements on neutrinos and determined that they don’t seem to be moving faster than light.

Both ICARUS and OPERA use the same neutrino source, and so have the same clocking capabilities. ICARUS uses a slightly different technique to detect neutrinos, but without some compelling explanation for the new data, it is safe to put the OPERA results down as “likely experimental error.” Relativity wins the day, again.

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