Astronomers Trace The Source Of Cosmic Neutrinos For The First Time

Posted: Jul 15 2018, 11:05am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Astronomers Trace the Source of Cosmic Neutrinos For the First Time
Credit: Icecube/NSF

Observations show that the single neutrino buried in Antarctica likely came from a supermassive black hole in another galaxy.

For the first time, astronomers have detected a source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, one of the fundamental particles that make up the universe.

The particular neutrino originated from a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy and traveled for billions of years across the universe before reaching Earth. The latest finding will help researchers better understand the underlying physical mechanisms that produce neutrinos and other extremely high-energy particles of cosmic origin.

“This is the first evidence that we have of an active galaxy emitting neutrinos, which means we may soon start observing the universe using neutrinos to learn more about these objects in ways that would be impossible with light alone." Dr. Marcos Santander from The University of Alabama said. He was part of an international team of scientists who found evidence of the source of neutrinos.

Tiny neutrinos are often described as “ghost particles” because they can pass through material almost unnoticed and therefore are extremely hard to detect. On Sept. 22, 2017, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory located at the South Pole, detected a neutrino buried deep in the Antarctic ice. Soon after, ground- and space-based telescopes looked for the source of that single neutrino. The follow-up observations confirmed the detection of very high-energy gamma rays from a blazer about four billion light years from Earth. The blazar, known as TXS 0506+056, is an active galaxy with a black hole at its center.

Neutrinos, which rain down on Earth, create a straight line of light. When IceCube Neutrino Observatory and other telescopes around the world were pointed in the direction of that patch of sky, they showed that the neutrino event position matches with an already known blazar.

"We've seen the neutrinos for years but did not know where they are coming from, and now we are getting a glimpse of their origin," said Drs. Dawn Williams from UA. "This is what IceCube was built to do, and it's an exciting time for neutrino astronomy."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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