The telescope, called Antares (Astronomy with a Neutrino Telescope and Abyss environmental RESearch), became the first deep-sea detector for the tiny neutral particles when it was completed in 2008. Located a mile-and-a-half beneath the surface of the Mediterranean, Antares waits patiently for streaks of upward-moving light, the signature of a neutrino passing through the Earth.
Pinpointing the sources of these hard-to-find particles could help resolve some of the most puzzling mysteries in physics, such as what cosmic rays are made of and what happens to stars when they explode as supernovas. But so far, the world's biggest and best neutrino telescopes have come up empty.
By looking at a different part of the sky than other neutrino telescopes, Antares may help speed the search. It's also the only neutrino telescope in the world that can detect bioluminescent bacteria and earthquakes.
"We're looking for other sources, at the center of our galaxy and other galaxies," said physicist Giorgio Giacomelli of the University of Bologna in Italy, who presented the first results from Antares at a conference in Venice on April 27 . "Our main aim is to look for cosmic sources of neutrinos, and then a search for exotic particles."
This gallery takes a tour of Antares' first peeks into the neutrino sky.