A team of scientists led by Albrecht Karle of the University of Wisconsin-Madison have finally confirmed the existence of cosmic neutrinos. Researchers working at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica spotted these ghostly particles that have almost no mass, but very high energy. Cosmic neutrinos travel from Milk Way and points beyond our galaxy.
Cosmic neutrinos may help solve many puzzles
Findings of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. The study not only confirms the existence of cosmic neutrinos but also reveals crucial information about the origin of cosmic rays. Scientists said cosmic neutrinos coming from distant galaxies could help solve many of the cosmic puzzles.
Neutrinos are subatomic particles created by violent and energetic cosmic phenomena like exploding stars, galactic cores, and black holes. These elusive particles don’t interact with matter, but in rare instances a few of them hit an atomic nucleus on Earth, giving rise to a secondary particle called Muon. The IceCube project detects Muons that can travel faster than the speed of light on a solid (Antarctic ice in this case).
These neutrinos are of extragalactic origin
Albrecht Karle and his colleagues sorted through billions of particles that bombarded the IceCube Observatory detectors between May 2010 and May 2012. They were able to identify about 35,000 neutrinos, with 21 of them showing ultra-high energies suggesting they came from cosmic sources. These 21 neutrinos came at the same rate as other neutrinos, but from the opposite direction.
The rate of appearance of these ultra-high energy neutrinos was same throughout the observation. It means the changing position of the observatory due to the daily rotation and annual orbit of the Earth didn’t matter. They were independent of our planet’s orbit and rotation. The only way it could happen was if the source of these neutrinos was outside our galaxy, reports Live Science. Albrecht Karle said at least a fraction of those neutrinos were of “extragalactic origin.”