A blazar is a source of high-energy neutrinos

Pic Reuters

Pic ReutersWASHINGTON

Neutrinos, Italian for "little neutral ones", are often described as "ghost particles", for their extremely weak interactions with ordinary matter.

One of the researchers Penn State physicist Doug Coven said, "One hundred billion natures go through your thumbnails every second, but in all the possibilities, none of them will ever be killed at your nuclear thumb in your lifetime".

The solution for this detection was the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and it totally changed a cubic kilometer of pure accompany by clear ice which was beneath the South Pole into a huge and major detector.

Ultimately, the team concluded that there are other blazars out in the space, and these active galaxies are the main sources of high-energy cosmic neutrinos.

One of the best suspects have been quasars, supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that are actively consuming gas and dust. The new results may not only be a key to understanding these exotic particles, they are also an important step towards a new, more comprehensive kind of astronomy. The detection and follow-up observations provide a convincing explanation for a mystery that has endured for more than a century: what is the source of the high-energy cosmic rays constantly raining down on Earth from deep space?

The perceptions were made by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the Amundsen- Scott South Pole Station, and affirmed by telescopes the world over and in Earth's orbit.

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Following the September 22 detection, the IceCube team quickly scoured the detector's archival data - NSF's IceCube is always on and looking in all directions, including through the Earth to the sky in the Northern Hemisphere - and discovered a flare of neutrinos from December 2014, coincident with the same blazar, TXS 0506+056, which scientists have nicknamed "the Texas source". Even more exciting, reports The Conversation, is that neutrinos had never before been traced back to their source. Not only do they fly long distances and from otherwise impenetrable spots like the cores of stars at virtually the speed of light, but by not having an electrical charge they are not affected by interstellar and intergalactic magnetic fields and other influences that scramble the paths of other types of cosmic particles, like protons and electrons.

Part of the family of fundamental particles that make up all known matter, neutrinos hurtle unimpeded through the Universe, interacting with nearly nothing. However, in 2013, researchers discovered a new type of neutrino known as a high-energy neutrino, and no one had been able to identify a source for those - until now.

Detecting the highest energy neutrinos requires a massive particle detector, and the National Science Foundation-supported IceCube observatory is the world's largest. This is farther than any other neutrino whose origin scientists can identify.

The blazar in question, designated TXS 0506+056, points one of its streams in the direction of Earth.

Astrophysicist Angela Olinto of the University of Chicago said that it is indicating the commencement of neutrino astronomy which utilizes nearly massless particles to divulge the enigma of cosmic mavericks like blazars. When a neutrino interacts with an atomic nucleus, it creates a secondary charged particle, which, in turn, produces a characteristic cone of blue light that is detected by IceCube's grid of photomultiplier tubes. Because the charged particle and light it creates stay essentially true to the neutrino's direction, it gives scientists a path to follow back to a source. - Regina Caputo, the analysis coordinator for the Fermi Large Area Telescope Collaboration. Using software developed by DESY researchers, the gamma-ray satellite Fermi, operated by the U.S. space agency NASA, had already registered a dramatic increase in the activity of this blazar, whose catalogue number is TXS 0506+056, around 22 September. "This means that we can in future track down such sources more specifically", says Elisa Resconi.

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