Newly Detected Particle Is Huge for Astronomy

IceCube Lab

IceCube Lab

As charged particles, cosmic rays can not be traced straight back to their source because strong magnetic fields in space alter their trajectory.

"Neutrinos rarely interact with matter". These particles, as the new Science article has confirmed, are made of neutrinos. With no electric charge and nearly no mass, they rarely interact with normal matter, earning them the nickname "ghost particles". With that further evidence, TXS 0506 is the first known accelerator of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays. One of the major goals in building IceCube was to identify the sources of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, and that's one cosmic dream that's at last been achieved. And just as X-rays allow us to observe inside objects, neutrinos give scientists a potential tool for examining the cosmos other than by using light.

"Such breakthroughs", Córdova continued, "are only possible through a long-term commitment to fundamental research and investment in superb research facilities".

Blazars are the central cores of giant galaxies that host an actively accreting supermassive black-hole at their heart, where matter spiralling in forms a hot, rotating disc that generates enormous amounts of energy, along with a pair of relativistic jets.

A cosmic neutrino detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was found to have originated in a gamma ray emitted by a supermassive black hole 3.7 billion light years away at the center of a galaxy in the constellation Orion.

The worldwide concerted effort detected that the neutrino was coming from a galaxy almost 4 billion light-years away - the blazar - that was located in the constellation of Orion. According to the previous data records a highly energetic neutrino collided one of the nuclei which were of those frozen water atoms in September 2017, which resulted in the creation of a particle which is specifically called a muon and it was then passed through the chilled detector, which allowed scientists to find the real trajectory from where the neutrino had arrived to the South Pole.

Scientists call the kinds of signals they can detect through space, like radio waves or gravitational waves or now neutrinos, "messengers".

Like a forensics team tracing the path of a bullet, scientists were able to combine data from different sensors within IceCube to deduce the original path of the neutrino.

Jamie Yang Savannah Guthrie  IceCube  NSF
The July 2018 cover of Science features neutrinos
Jamie Yang Savannah Guthrie IceCube NSF The July 2018 cover of Science features neutrinos

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: At the South Pole, there's a sophisticated observatory created to catch high-energy neutrinos, enigmatic particles produced by violent cosmic events like exploding stars.

Austrian physicist Victor Hess proved in 1912 that the ionizing particles scientists were detecting in the atmosphere were coming from space. In that galaxy resides a very big black hole that is a natural particle accelerator.

"I have been working in this field for nearly 30 years and to find an actual neutrino source is an incredibly exciting moment".

"The universe just talks to us in so many ways, and every time you find a new way of listening, you find something else". "Neutrinos can bring us information about the highest energy particles deep inside these accelerators, even if gamma rays or optical light are absorbed before they escape". "They are going through your [nail], through your body, through everything".

There's still a lot of work to do from here; scientists must figure out why this particular blazar is sending out neutrinos and cosmic rays.

Detecting the highest energy neutrinos requires a massive particle detector, and IceCube is by volume the world's largest. The direction from which they directly receive points on their original source.The ice cube neutrinos detector includes 86 holes drilled 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) in Antarctic ice.

Animated neutrino has been detected to its galactic homeland.

The neutrino's ability to travel without deviation from its course means its source can be accurately tracked, unlike other types of subatomic particles that can be dragged off course by a magnetic field like the Earth's.

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