Is CERN activating the world’s most powerful particle accelerator for the April 8 eclipse? No – Poynter

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As excitement builds for the upcoming April 8 total eclipse, there is speculation circulating on social media regarding a popular conspiracy theory involving CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research based in Switzerland.

A Facebook post on March 29 raised concerns about CERN’s alleged plan to activate “the large hadron collider” on the same day as the eclipse, prompting questions about potential hidden agendas and catastrophic outcomes. Another post on April 1 suggested that CERN’s reactivation on April 8 could be linked to the idea of opening a gateway or portal.

Claim about Large Hadron Collider and eclipse with False logo 4 05 2024


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While it is common for scientists to leverage eclipses for research opportunities due to unique atmospheric conditions, CERN’s focus is specifically on particle physics. Named after the French “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire,” CERN delves into the study of fundamental matter constituents and the forces that bind them together in the universe.

At the core of CERN’s research is the Large Hadron Collider, recognized as the most potent particle accelerator globally, spanning approximately 16.8 miles (27 kilometers) in circumference. Britannica clarifies that the collider’s purpose is to recreate the extreme conditions of the early universe moments post the big bang, aiming to unravel the fundamental structure of matter.

CERN spokesperson Sophie Tesauri stated in an email to PolitiFact that the activities at the collider are unrelated to the April 8 eclipse.

“CERN’s focus on particle physics, particularly with accelerators like the LHC, does not directly intersect with astrophysics,” Tesauri explained. “Hence, there is no correlation between the solar eclipse on April 8th and CERN’s operations.”

CERN operates an accelerator complex comprising machines with incrementally higher energy levels. This complex progresses particles from one machine to the next, elevating their energy levels, with the Large Hadron Collider serving as the final component.

Within the Large Hadron Collider, beams containing a range of particles including protons and ions travel in opposing directions at nearly the speed of light, culminating in controlled collisions. Notably, in 2012, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider led to the identification of the Higgs boson particle, named after physicist Peter Higgs for his groundbreaking theoretical contributions.

Tesauri noted that the annual restart of the accelerator complex post a brief winter technical hiatus involves thorough maintenance checks to ensure operational efficiency.

“Following comprehensive inspections, the LHC is primed to facilitate particle collisions for the experiments, with the initial collisions for the current year set for April 5th,” Tesauri confirmed. “This marks the commencement of the 2024 physics run.”

Initial projections indicated beam collisions on April 8 as per a March 14 report. However, this timeline may slightly shift depending on operational progress.

On April 5, CERN confirmed the achievement of stable beams in 2024 at the Large Hadron Collider, signaling the official commencement of the year’s physics data collection. The collider underwent setup and testing from March 8 to April 5 to ensure seamless operations.

While the solar eclipse on April 8 does not impact the collider’s beams directly, CERN’s announcement highlighted the gravitational effects of the moon on the machine’s structure due to its immense size. This occurrence, akin to the tides, is not exclusive to eclipses, as a 2012 press release discussed machine distortions during a full moon.

According to CERN’s FAQs, the Large Hadron Collider is slated to operate for over 20 years with intermittent stops for enhancements and upkeep work.

Conspiracy theories surrounding CERN have persisted for years, with the organization emphasizing the fictional nature of works inspired by its research in response to Verify fact-checkers. CERN’s FAQ section addresses common misconceptions, debunking notions of opening alternate dimensions or creating black holes in a cosmological sense.

The allegation linking CERN’s Large Hadron Collider activation to the April 8 solar eclipse is deemed false.

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What is CERN’s primary research focus?

CERN’s primary research focus is particle physics, aimed at studying the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces between them.

How does the Large Hadron Collider operate?

The Large Hadron Collider accelerates beams of particles, including protons and ions, in opposite directions at near-light speeds, leading to controlled collisions for scientific experiments.

What was the significant discovery made at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012?

In 2012, the Large Hadron Collider experiments led to the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, named after physicist Peter Higgs, known for theorizing its existence and its role in providing mass to other particles.

How long is the Large Hadron Collider expected to run?

The Large Hadron Collider is expected to operate for over 20 years with intermittent stops for upgrades and maintenance work.

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