Origin of ‘ghost particle’ traced to distant black hole


The discovery, made by an worldwide team of scientists, marks the first time a high-energy neutrino from beyond the Milky Way has been traced to its place of origin as well as the furthest any neutrino has been known to travel. The key to this evidence? Now, with IceCube recording the impacts of intergalactic neutrinos, we have a way to feel the cosmos. The only visible equipment is the IceCube Lab, also called the ICL, which hosts the computers that collect data from the sensors buried in the ice.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory which is in Antarctica.

Astronomers long have relied upon electromagnetic observations - studying light - but this approach has limitations because too many aspects of the universe are indecipherable using light alone.

Cosmic rays are energetic particles radiation that travel at almost the speed of light and bombard the Earth. Because they rarely interact with matter and have almost no mass, these "ghost particles" travel nearly undisturbed from their cosmic accelerators, giving scientists an almost direct pointer to their source. They are constantly bombarding our planet in unimaginable numbers. IceCube is the largest particle detector in the world by volume, coming in at one cubic kilometer.

IceCube cost about $250 million to build and nearly nothing to operate, because it is all frozen in the ice. IceCube is an array of more than 5,000 light sensors created to pick up these flashes. To detect a neutrino would require a lot of nuclei in a small area.

The findings solve a mystery dating to 1912 over the source of subatomic particles like neutrinos and cosmic rays.

"The era of multi-messenger astrophysics is here".

Did INTEGRAL record the high-energy neutrino source?

Astrophysical neutrinos are fascinating mysteries.

If the blazar jet is indeed the source of the high-energy cosmic neutrinos seen by IceCube, then it should also be a source of high-energy cosmic rays, says Halzen, as both phenomena are produced in massive proton accelerators.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory detected the first signs of high-energy neutrinos five years ago.

Fang says the hope is that more of these neutrinos will be detected, which should give physicists more information about the physics that govern black holes. The source identification paper also includes important follow-up observations by the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes and additional data from NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and many other facilities.

The bottom line: It's bright across the spectrum. This blazar is situated in the night sky just off the left shoulder of the constellation Orion and is about four billion light years from Earth.

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.

But the link between neutrinos and the faraway blazar isn't a sure thing.

The IceCube laboratory at the South Pole, where scientists made the first ever detection of a high-energy neutrino. 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.