After a bumpy beginning, the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most enormous and highest-energy particle accelerator, is finally delivering on its promise of blowing our minds.
This week, physicists smashed lead ions together in the accelerator for the first time, causing a collision that produced temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the sun. "What we're doing is reproducing the conditions that existed at the very early universe, a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang," Michael Tuts, a Columbia University physicist, told CNN.
The aim of these experiments is to find the fundamental, sub-subatomic building blocks of matter. But as an added benefit, they also result in some amazing images.
These three images show the results of the lead ion collision as recorded by three different detectors, ALICE, ATLAS, and CMS.
We'll admit, we don't know exactly what we're looking at, but it looks incredible, right? There's a more scientific discussion of them at Symmetry Breaking.
All images copyright CERN.