5,160 light sensors were lowered into those holes and spread out over one cubic kilometer. In this illustration, based on an aerial view near the South Pole, an artistic rendering of the IceCube detector shows the interaction of a neutrino with a molecule of ice.
“We have found the first source of cosmic rays”, said Francis Halzen, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and IceCube’s director, in an interview. On Sept. 22, to be precise.
ESA’s Integral observatory is able to detect gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic phenomena in the Universe.
According to the experts, this recently found alien neutrino has come from a supermassive black hole, located near about 3.7 billion light-years away. Is this characteristic of blazars, or is there something special that is required? And Marek Kowalski adds, “Since neutrinos are a sort of by-product of the charged particles in cosmic rays, our observation implies that active galaxies are also accelerators of cosmic ray particles”. Neutrinos, on the other hand, have no charge and are unaffected by magnetic fields, which means their paths point nearly directly to their source. Exactly where they come from has been a long-standing cosmological mystery, but scientists suspect they’re formed in cataclysmic events like galaxy mergers or supermassive black holes devouring matter. Those results appear in a second Science paper. Just within minutes of recording the activity, the IceCube alerted different astronomical laboratories across the world.
Detecting the highest energy neutrinos requires a massive particle detector, and IceCube fits the bill.
“If I shine a light on a table, you won’t see the light on both sides”, she said. Observations were performed across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays. They differ in wave length, but they’re all from the same family.
This high energy strongly suggested that the neutrino had to be from beyond our solar system.
“It is an entirely new means for us to learn about the cosmos”, Roopesh Ojha of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center told The Washington Post.
Of course, scientists don’t know what they’ll find, but then that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
The findings solve a mystery dating to 1912 over the source of subatomic particles like neutrinos and cosmic rays.
They keep two people on site at the South Pole, he said. Some galaxies are believed to revolve around black holes so violent that, in addition to consuming cosmic material at unfathomable rates, they emit streams of highly charged particles into space, also known as cosmic rays. When a particularly powerful neutrino is captured, IceCube sends out an alert. “It is right to say that we are all swimming in neutrinos”. By studying these ancient “ghost” particles, scientists can therefore infer what was going on in the Universe just as it started to form. I reached her via Skype. “So instead of publishing a paper and having astronomers look three years later at something we report, we went into real time mode”, Prof Karle said. This particle travels through the ice at an optimal speed to generate Cherenkov radiation.
The active galaxy that has now been identified is a so-called blazar, an active galaxy whose jet points precisely in our direction.
Astronomers detected the high-energy neutrino, a kind of subatomic particle, when it tore into the southern Indian Ocean near the coast of Antarctica and carried on until it struck an atomic nucleus in the Antarctic ice, sending more particles flying.
KE FANG: Those jets are a very interesting subject for astrophysicists.
This is physics at its most mind-boggling and extreme.
Scientists have known about cosmic rays for a century, but they’ve never been able to pinpoint a source.