This is the first groovy image produced by the Large Hadron Collider, showing some of the first protons accelerated today at 1028h Central European Time (0428h Eastern Time), the exact time when CERN scientists successfully fired up the LHC for the first time. As we told you earlier this morning, this wasn't the heads-on collision experiment, which will come later in the year.
This time they only steered the particles around the full 26.9km circumference of the underground facility. Nevertheless, the personnel involved in the test cheered in ecstasy as the multi-billion-dollar facility actually demonstrated that it was fully armed and operational:
It's a fantastic moment, we can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe.
LHC project leader Lyn Evans
"The LHC is a discovery machine, its research programme has the potential to change our view of the Universe profoundly, continuing a tradition of human curiosity that's as old as mankind itself.
CERN Director General Robert Aymar
Following these beam tests—more will be coming in the next hours—the facility will prepare for the first heads-on collision later in the year. [CERN]