Supernova neutrinos: Earth matter effects and neutrino mass spectrum

C. Lunardini, A. Yu Smirnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


We perform a detailed study of the Earth matter effects on supernova neutrinos. The dependences of these effects on the properties of the original neutrino fluxes, on the trajectory of the neutrinos inside the Earth and on the oscillation parameters are described. We show that, for a large fraction (~60%) of the possible arrival times of the signal, the neutrino flux crosses a substantial amount of the matter of the Earth at least for one of the existing detectors. For oscillation parameters from the LMA solution of the solar neutrino problem the Earth matter effect consists in an oscillatory modulation of the ν̄e and/or νe energy spectra. The relative deviation with respect to the undistorted spectra can be as large as 20-30% for E≳20 MeV and 70-100% for E≳40 MeV. For parameters from the SMA and LOW solutions the effect is localized at low energies (E≲10 MeV) and is not larger than ~10%. The Earth matter effects can be revealed (i) by the observation of oscillatory distortions of the energy spectra in a single experiment and (ii) by the comparison between the spectra at different detectors. For a supernova at distance D=10 Kpc, comparing the results of SuperKamiokande (SK), SNO and LVD experiments one can establish the effect at (2-3)σ level, whereas larger statistical significance ((4-5)σ) is obtained if two experiments of SK-size or larger are available. Studies of the Earth matter effect will select or confirm the solution of the solar neutrino problem, probe the mixing Ue3 and identify the hierarchy of the neutrino mass spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-348
Number of pages42
JournalNuclear Physics B
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 19 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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