After overcoming some hurdles, researchers operated the Large Hadron Collider at its highest energy level yet on Tuesday, gathering data after smashing protons into each other.
The huge underground particle accelerator at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, is designed to probe the nature of dark matter, antimatter, an elusive particle called the Higgs boson, and any number of physics issues about how they relate to the history of the universe.
"We have observed the first collisions [and] lots of beautiful tracks. It's really fantastic," said a representative of one of the LHC's experiments, called Atlas, during a live Webcast of the event. The tracks are produced by particles created when the LHC's protons collide.
After one failed attempt to inject protons into the system, a follow-up attempt succeeded, and the accelerator was ramped up to 7 TeV. At about 1 p.m. local time, the researchers started gathering experimental data, and at 1:22 p.m. local time, the beams were stabilized so they could run without active adjustment.
The LHC control center was packed with researchers watching as protons from two beams, each at 3.5 TeV energy levels, collided.
(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland)
For more of this story, read LHC experiments run at highest energy level yet on CNET News.