The Cherenkov cone is emitted along the charged particle direction as many textbooks say. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph241/alaeian2/images/f2big.png

Detectors like Super-Kamiokande can detect those cerenkov rings and tag the particle as a muon-like neutrino event or electron-like neutrino event.

My problem is that there are also other pictures in the internet for cherenkov radiation emitted in reverse direction which i cannot understand. It would mean, the cherenkov-light is travelling faster than the charged particle.


Maybe someone can make it clear for me.




  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The yellow cones from your second picture correspond to the yellow arrows in the first picture. They visualise in which direction the cherenkov light is emitted. $\endgroup$
    – user236746
    Dec 12, 2019 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Many thanks this solved it for me. $\endgroup$
    – Chris S.
    Dec 12, 2019 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


Both images actually show different steps in the emission:

  • The first image tries to motivate how the Cherenkov light, that is emitted along the path of the charged particle, superimposes to a light front emitted at a certain angle

  • The yellow cones in the second image visualise how this light front then propagates further

Maybe it helps if you mentally combine both images into something like this:

enter image description here

(sorry for the quick and dirty sketch)

  • $\begingroup$ Amazing. Thanks a lot! $\endgroup$
    – Chris S.
    Dec 12, 2019 at 22:30

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