Scientists at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica confirmed a 2013 finding that had suggested some neutrinos are released by sources located outside our galaxy and can travel millions of light years to reach Earth.
The high energy particles can not be detected with current technology. Yet, the telltalle traces they leave behind after colliding with nearby atoms tell scientists that they do exist. Their common sources are impressive natural accelerators such as supermassive black holes and stellar explosions also known as supernovae.
Researchers explained that neutrinos generate a new type of particles called muons whenever they bump into other particles. Yet, that happens quite rarely because the sub-atomic particles can travel at mind-numbing speeds through our planet’s crust as if they went through empty space.
In void, muons can reach speeds that are higher than the speed of light. And they also release radiation around them when they move around. Scientists used that radiation to track them in Antarctica’s ice sheet.
Researchers of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole say that their recent findings confirm what other scientists found in 2013 – cosmic neutrinos do exist and their sources are located within and outside our galaxy.
The latest study on cosmic neutrinos was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Researchers argued that the extra-galactic neutrinos can reach our planet because of their ghostly structure. Just like ghosts, they can move through dense space objects such as stars, galaxies, star dust clusters, and magnetic fields more smoothly than a sunbeam would because photons in a sunbeam are usually disturbed by the physical obstacles they encounter along their way.
After sifting through heaps of astronomical data, the team at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory announced that it has detected 21 muon-type neutrino particles that may have extragalactic origins. These cosmic neutrinos have high energy levels that suggest that their initial source was located outside the Milky Way.
These particles display energy levels that are a million times higher than the levels recorded in human-made particle accelerators including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The research team explained that that is because those particles were the result of cataclysmic cosmic events such as stellar explosions, which can outshine an entire galaxy when they occur.
Scientists are thrilled that they were able to detect the out-of-this-world subatomic particles in Antarctica’s ice sheet. They used shafts equipped with neutrino detectors to fish for the elusive particles at depths of up to 8,000 feet.
The Antarctica team now hopes that the particles may help them better understand how cosmic rays form and the nature of the universe’s particle accelerators.
Image Source: Sci-News
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