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The particle accelerator is scheduled to start up again in 2015
The 12,500 ton Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) in Cessy, France is the heaviest of the detectors at the LHC. It along with ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) gathered the data that resulted in the Higgs boson announcement.
The detectors are located underground to minimize the impact of the outside world and get a stable foundation. When they were installed, big shafts were used to get the parts down to the underground caves. They are also used to service the detectors.
The CMS detector's overall diameter is 15 meters and it is 28.7 meters long. At its core, the detector has silicon trackers which output 1 petabyte of data per second using using about 75 million channels.
Long sections of the 27 kilometer LHC tunnel are actually straight. But when it's time for the beams of atomic particles to turn, large magnets are used do to the job.
The LHC accelerates two beams of atomic particles -- which have a pipe of their own -- in opposite directions around the collider. They are enclosed in a sheath of superconducting magnets and all of this is bathed in liquid helium at -271.3 degrees Celsius. Before the beams enter one of the detectors the two tubes come together so they can collide.
Each of the beams are fed into the collider using a separate pipe, shown here to the left.
The ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector is slightly lighter than CMS, but it still weighs 10,000 ton. The name is a reference to Alice in Wonderland.
CERN takes the security at the LHC very seriously, so staff as well as scientists at ALICE have to carry breathing masks in case of an accident.
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