Hope College Physics Department
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Summer 2007
Project Summary


Project Title:

Searching for Supernova Neutrinos with MiniBooNE

Student Name:

Jeff Gustafson

Student's Home Institution: Macalester College
Research Advisor: Dr. Linda Coney
Source of Support: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-REU Grant No. 0452206.

The MiniBooNE experiment, while primarily seeking to analyze neutrino oscillations, is also suited to detect neutrinos from supernova explosions using particle identification and event filters. The goal of this project was to search through all of MiniBooNE’s data and determine if there is any evidence for supernova signals. Analysis required a proper filtering of all events that took place within the detector, as well as an algorithm to search for bursts of events that deviated from the standard expected background.
Using ROOT, event clusters were plotted for various time windows over all of the data, which comprises several years. The time windows were chosen between 1 millisecond and 100 seconds (the expected window for a supernova being 10 seconds). The plots all approximated a Gaussian bell curve. However, clusters with events beyond 5 standard deviations from the mean have been identified as possible supernova neutrino events.