Astronomers Trace Origin of Ghost Particle for the Very First Time

Katie Ramirez
July 16, 2018

The scientists used a large observatory known as IceCube, in use since 2010, to hunt for neutrinos and try to track the source.

"We know that there are these very high-energy cosmic rays being accelerated out there somewhere and it's a century-old mystery where they are coming from", said Erik Blaufuss, who works on IceCube at the University of Maryland.

Neilson is also a lead author of one or two research papers on the discovery and it is going to be published in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

"The intriguing results also represent the remarkable culmination of thousands of human years of intensive activities by the IceCube Collaboration to bring the dream of neutrino astronomy to reality", said Daren Grant, a professor of physics at the University of Alberta and the spokesperson of the IceCube Collaboration, an worldwide team with over 300 scientists in 12 countries.

"In order to get a measurable signal from the tiny fraction of neutrinos that do interact, neutrino physicists need to build extremely large detectors", explains Dr Susan Cartwright, a particle physicist at the University of Sheffield.

A celestial object known as a blazar is a source of high-energy neutrinos, report two new studies.

The neutrino was discovered past year in Antarctica by an global team of scientists using the US National Science Foundation's IceCube Neutrino Observatory. A blazar is a type of galaxy with a central black hole that spins at high speed and spews streams of neutrinos in opposing directions. Encompassing a cubic kilometer of deep, pristine ice a mile beneath the surface at the South Pole, the detector is composed of more than 5,000 light sensors arranged in a grid.

Radioactive decompose in the stars develop neutrinos at the time of supernovae or when matter spirals into black holes. NASA's Fermi gamma ray telescope was the first to detect higher activity from the blazar within 0.06 degrees of the IceCube source.

Bolstering these observations are coincident measurements from other instruments, including optical, radio and X-ray telescopes. Neutrinos are light particles that only weakly interact with ordinary matter.

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Although not originally high on the list of potential cosmic neutrino sources, this makes for strong evidence that blazars do generate the elusive particles. Many types of telescopes have studied blazars.

An artist's impression of a super-massive black hole at the heart of a blazar galaxy shooting a high-energy beam of radiation into space.

Scientists said this discovery could mark the founding event of neutrino astronomy.

Sunday, 17 September 2017, the IceCube detectors "flashed" neutrinos of ultrahigh energy, whose trajectory pointed to his apparent cosmic origin.

Followup observations of TXS 0506 were conducted with the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes (MAGIC) NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and various other observatories. "But with a neutrino flashlight, it will go through and you can see it on both sides".

This is the first time ever that the earthlings have managed to spot a neutrino from a distant and alien source.

"The evidence for the observation of the first known source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays is compelling", said Francis Halzen, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of physics and principal investigator for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

Do you believe that studying neutrinos could help us better understand the universe?

"We're trying to look for more sources and trying to look for more correlations between neutrinos and photons", Neilson said. In 2016, scientists using data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in the United States said they had detected ripples in the fabric of spacetime produced by a black hole collision some 1.3 billion light-years away.

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