Drexel Astrophysicist Proves the Origin of Neutrinos - DrexelNow


"Interestingly, we all believed that blazara unlikely to be the source of cosmic rays, but we now know that in reality it is the opposite".

Still, astronomers are excited by the potential for a new field of astronomy - neutrino astronomy. Astronomers have tagged it as TXS 0506+056 and it can be seen in the night sky just by the Orion constellation!

The findings solve a mystery dating to 1912 over the source of subatomic particles like neutrinos and cosmic rays. The culprit seems to have been a blazar, an active galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center that sends a bright jet of particles hurtling towards Earth.

We want to tell you that former IceCube spokesperson Olga Botner had explained at a National Science Foundation press conference on the discovery, this observatory accumulates a billion tons of ice. That independent observation greatly strengthens the initial detection of a single high-energy neutrino and adds to a growing body of data that indicates the blazar is the first known accelerator of the highest energy neutrinos and cosmic rays.

The NSF Office of Polar Programs, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), and the Physics Division in its Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate jointly oversee the operations of NSF's IceCube, the world's largest neutrino detector.

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First, it carried a huge amount of energy - about 20 times as much energy as that generated in the largest man-made particle accelerator ever built. They noticed that between September 2014 and March 2015, IceCube detected significantly more than usual coming from that direction-likely from another flare by the same blazar. These extremely high-energy cosmic rays can be created only outside our galaxy and their sources have remained a mystery until now.

Professor Paul O'Brien, a member of the worldwide team of astronomers from the University of Leicester, said: "Neutrinos rarely interact with matter". "Such breakthroughs are only possible through a long-term commitment to fundamental research and investment in superb research facilities". This makes them really hard to spot.

Two papers on the discovery have been published here and here in the journal Science.

"Astronomy started when people looked at the night sky, and that's light hitting your eyes", says Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, an astrophysicist at Drexel University in Philadelphia and another member of the IceCube collaboration. Concurrently, the Swift and HESS instruments detected signs (e.g., gamma rays) consistent with flaring (the emission of cosmic rays) in TXS 0506+056.

But light waves and gamma rays and even radio waves are all what scientists call electromagnetic radiation.

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Scientists discover a new way of looking at the universe during the analysis of the data from a detector located in a big block of ice from the South Pole. This is because the IceCube requires ultra-pure ice in order to analyze neutrinos.

Neutrinos are electrically neutral, undisturbed by even the strongest magnetic field, and rarely interact with matter, earning the nickname "ghost particle".

But in certain rare cases, when neutrinos brush up against atoms, they can cause a tiny flash of visible light.

However, the astrophysical community has since acquired the tools necessary to detect ghost particles with increased accuracy and track them back to their source.

IceCube cost about $250 million to build and nearly nothing to operate, because it is all frozen in the ice.

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Being able to detect high energy neutrinos will provide yet another window on the universe, said the scientists.