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KM3NeT blog posts

News from the ORCA campaign – hard work ongoing, bad weather approaching

21 November 2021 – The weather forecast does not look promising for next days. The main effort today was spent on some tuning of the equipment and preparation to next steps.

The situation at the sea bottom is: two new detection units have been already added to the ORCA detector; a third one, after installation, connection and test, is awaiting unfurling, and a fourth one is also on the sea floor awaiting to be connected – next step will be to connnect this one.

The video shows the overboarding of the ROV from the Janus – this takes place by means of a so-called A-frame (the structure at the stern of the ship which, rotating, reaches outboard).

Two new detection units added to ORCA… and counting

20 November 2021 – It was night and day again. The work continues around the clock when you are at sea. The second detection unit was also deployed, connected and tested last night. After that, unfurling was performed for the two detection units. A final test was then made from the shore to check that the two units are ok even after unfurling, et… voilà:  ORCA is enlarged to 8 detection units.

The campaign is now continuing with deployment of the next detection units; a third one is already on the sea bottom, connected and tested. A fourth one has been deployed in the evening: we will keep going until the deck is empty or the weather changes (the forecast is not ideal for next week): which of the two will happen first?

After unfurling of a detection unit, the launcher vehicle on which the unit is installed for deployment reaches the surface and is recovered for next campaigns.
Inspection of a detection unit, after touchdown on the sea floor (~2,500 m depth). The unit featured here is the fourth one which has been deployed in this campaign.

First day of activity at the ORCA site

19 November 2021 – The first day of activity has gone at the ORCA site. Most efforts today were aimed at getting everything well prepared for the action. The first detection unit was then deployed to the sea bottom, precisely placed on the sea floor and connected to the submarine infrastructure. The tests performed from shore confirm that the dection unit is nicely working, and it now awaits to be “unfurled” to its work configuration. Deployment of the second detection unit has been started in the evening.

Today was also the last day of our joint ANTARES-KM3NeT online Collaboration meeting, which ended with a cheerful activity to enjoy each other’s company even from a distance – you can read more about the meeting here.

The tho ships in action at the ORCA site: Castor (in the foreground) is equipped for deploying and accurately placing the detection units on the sea floor, while the Janus (in the background) is equipped with a ROV for submarine connections.

The movie shows the overboarding of one of the new detection units of ORCA.



Online but happy collaboration meeting

19 November 2021 – Our collaboration met this week for its traditional Fall meeting – the 5th to be organised online. Despite the physical distance, we had lively and interesting exchange over the week. Many new data analyses were presented, and more than 120 participants connected to the sessions. The week ended by fun social events, and the wish to chat face to face, in-person at the next meeting.



We also welcomed new institutes in the Collaboration:

– University of Sharjah, UAE;
– Khalifa University, UAE;
Lebedev Physical Institute, Russia;
UCLouvain, Belgium.

The new institutes will work on various topics ranging from neutrino astronomy to neutrino physics, while contributing to detector construction. Welcome in the collaboration!

Finally, we celebrated 6 months of ARCA data taking with 6 detection units! For the occasion, some of the artists in our collaboration prepared a 6hand piano piece. Enjoy!

New sea installation started for ORCA! Follow it from our blog

18 November 2021 – Right in the middle of the joint ANTARES and KM3NeT Collaboration meeting, which is taking place  – once again – online, a new sea campaign has been started for ORCA. Isn’t it the right way to show that a virus can’t stop science?

Today, November 18th, seven new detection units of KM3NeT, onboard the Castor ship of Foselev Marine, sailed from La Seyne sur Mer in Southern France to the KM3NeT/ORCA deep-sea site, about 40 km from the shore. The aim of the campaign is to deploy as many of them as the weather, which is not ideal in this season, will allow.

As in the past campaigns, two vessels will be used for the operation: the detection units will be deployed and precisely installed on the sea floor from the Castor, while a remotely operated vehicle will be maneuvered from the Janus of Comex.

We will document the activites of next days through our liveblog and over our social media channels.

Remain connected with us for this new, extraordinary challenge from the deep sea!

The deck of the Castor packed with detection units, while preparing to sail.

New sea campaign started for ORCA

18 November 2021 – What a day! After a stand-by of 24 hours, due to uncertain weather conditions, the Castor and the Janus left the French coast headed to the KM3NeT/ORCA site. Ahead is one week of hard work to enlarge the deep-sea neutrino telescope.

Onboard the Castor are seven new detection units, carrying in total 126 optical modules, and one autonomous acoustic beacon. The Janus is instead equipped with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which will be maneuvered from the ship to perform the deep-sea action: inspection of the submarine structures and connections of the new detection units to the already installed submarine network.

As we write this post, the two ships are at the site and the operation is being started.

The Castor seen from the Janus – the acoustic beacon has been already deployed, preparation to deployment of the first detection unit is starting


Last pre-dive checks of the deep-sea ROV on the Janus




Welcome to the liveblog about the ORCA sea operation of November 2021

November 17, 2021 – KM3NeT is getting ready for a new sea operation at the ORCA site near the French coast of Toulon.

Seven new detection units for ORCA are already onboard the Castor ship which will be used for the deployment.
The ship is waiting for an improvement of the weather conditions to sail from the port of La Seyne Sur Mer.

We will report on this operation with posts in the social media and in the ORCA-blog.



Yahya Tayalati awarded the Mustafa Prize

13 October 2021 – The KM3NeT Collaboration is proud to announce that Yahya Tayalati, professor at University Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco and member of the ANTARES and KM3NeT collaborations, has been awarded the prestigious Mustafa Prize.

The Mustafa Prize is a top science and technology award, granted biennially to the researchers and scientists of the Islamic world. Some of the criteria considered by the selection committee are the innovative and outstanding aspect of the research and the high scientific profile and international appreciation of the researcher. Professor Tayalati is receiving this prestigious award for his contribution in beyond standard model physics, especially the “Observation of the Light by Light Scattering and the Search for Magnetic Monopoles”. He was selected together with 4 other recipients among more than 500 candidates.

Yahya is the principal investigator of ANTARES and KM3NeT in Morocco. In addition to being one of the leaders of the dark matter group in the two collaborations, Yahya is leading integration activities for KM3NeT DOMs at two different sites in Morocco.

Video of the Rabat integration site aired on Al Araby TV, an international television network broadcasting in Arabic:

Heartiest congratulations, Yahya!

Congratulations to Rebecca Gozzini

Picture of Sara Rebecca Gozzini

The KM3NeT Collaboration congratulates Sara Rebecca Gozzini, who has received a fellowship from the Program to support talented researchers – GenT Plan – of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian regional government) in Spain. The fellowship has a duration of 4 (+ 2) years to develop a research project at the Instituto de Física Corpuscular, IFIC, in Valencia and is thought as a tenure-track position promoted by the regional government for the consolidation of young researchers with international projection.

Rebecca joined ANTARES and KM3NeT in 2017. She took charge of different searches for dark matter: search for Galactic Centre WIMPs, search for heavy secluded dark matter, and a combined analysis with IceCube. She currently coordinates the working group ‘Dark Matter and Exotics Physics’ in KM3NeT.

The project presented by Rebecca for her GenT application, “Search for new physics signatures and measurement of fundamental neutrino properties with the KM3NeT telescope”, will have as priority objectives the search for dark matter signatures in KM3NeT, as well as new physics phenomena associated with neutrinos, such as non-standard interactions and others. The grant awarded to Rebecca includes also a budget to hire two PhD students.

The GenT Plan of the Generalitat Valenciana was born in 2017 as a commitment for the recovery, attraction and consolidation of researchers of international excellence in the Valencian research, development and innovation system, in all areas of knowledge to develop their R & D projects in public universities and research centres of the Valencian Community. Paco Salesa and Agustín Sánchez, also members of KM3NeT, are currently working at IFIC thanks to this initiative, too.

Limits on Galactic Centre WIMPs with ANTARES and KM3NeT
Limits from the search for a WIMP signal from the Galactic Centre with ANTARES and KM3NeT (plot presented by Rebecca at the 37th International Cosmic Ray Conference, 2021)

Time to resume data taking in ARCA

15 September 2021 – after the recovery of two old detection units, already left disconnected after previous sea campaigns – the so-called PPM-DU (Pre-Production Model of Detection Unit), a 3-digital optical module unit used for qualification of the project in the sea as early as in 2014, and one of the first prototype full-size detection units deployed in spring 2016, the sea campaign of ARCA has been completed today.

A lot of good work has been done in this intense week – and we are very grateful for that to the onshore and offshore teams. We also thank all the various institutes which contributed to the construction and preparation to deployment of the detection units – in next entries on this blog we will report on these demanding activities.

As a summary, during this sea campaign:

  • the positioning system has been maintained by installing two acoustic beacons and recovering an exhausted one (these are autonomous devices running on batteries which need to be refurbished in due time)
  • five interlink cables were installed on the sea bottom
  • three new detection units were installed, i.e.: deployed to the sea bottom, connected to the submarine infrastructure, unfurled to their nominal shape (standing for almost 700 m above the sea floor) and proved to work
  • the launcher vehicles of the three installed detection units and the cable trays used for deploying the cables were of course recovered, to be reused for next campaigns

After completing this set of operations, Handin Tide safely sailed back to the port of Malta.

Note that it was decided not to install the remaining two detection units which were onboard the ship, due to a mechanical issue that will be solved. These two detection units have been taken back to shore. After adequate refurbishment, they will be added to those already in preparation. Nothing is lost therefore: they will be included in the next sea campaign.

In the end… it’s time to resume detector operation of ARCA now!

The KM3NeT Collaboration is very grateful to the onshore (in the picture) and offshore teams for their hard work, instrumental for the success of this sea campaign – note that the full operation was performed respecting all applicable rules against COVID-19: our onshore team got so close together only for the time of a… “cheese”!