The LHC Is So Sensitive It's Affected By The Moon

The Large Hadron Collider is a beacon of all that's great about science and engineering — but that doesn't mean it always works properly. In fact, the facility is so sensitive that even the moon's gravitational pull affects how well it operates.

Over at Quantum Diaries, the LHC's Pauline Gagnon explains that the changing gravitational forces exerted by the moon — which are what drives the tides — cause tiny shifts in the position of hardware within the collider. Because the LHC has a circumference of nearly 27km, those small shifts are amplified, which means that the incredibly sensitive device is thrown off track, and the proton beams begin to miss each other.

As a result, the operators have to tweak the alignment of the LHC's beam every now and then to compensate for drops in performance. In fact it's not the only natural phenomenon that causes a problem: even the height of the water in nearby Lake Geneva causes similar problems. Imagine having to try and work that out when your experiment starts going wrong. [Quantum Diaries via Ars Technica]

Image: Image Editor under Creative Commons license

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    that's shit lol

    "DAMMIT! I forgot to charge my the calculations will be off again! WHY did I buy an iPhone!"

    Apple bashing intended....

      *gazes into crystal ball*

      I predict you are the same Apple-hating (but thankfully NBN loving) Seven_Tech that posts 700 comments on Delimiter every day..

        Indeed I am :D

        To be fair, I don't Apple hate as much as I used to- I certainly see their simplicity and use in the mainstream market. I'm just disappointed with their innovation now. They used to lead and I had a REAL reason to dislike them :P

    So what would happen to experiments been performed in the LHC if a scuba diver was diving in Lake Geneva and farted? Now would that be because there isn't enough water in the lake, or because of the sudden rush of gases that came flurrying out. How would you compensate for a boat load of windy scuba divers?

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