The presence of a very high energy neutrino, a particle – “ghost”, which was created during the destruction of a star by colossal gravity, a black hole with a mass of 30 million suns, scientists have discovered on Earth.
The event, 700 million years old, shortly before the first animals appeared on our planet, created a kind of giant cosmic particle accelerator, launching neutrinos that have recently reached and penetrated Earth.
The discovery sheds new light on the origin of cosmic rays of ultra-high energy, that is, those particles in the universe that have the most energy. On Earth, neutrino subatomic particles are only produced by powerful accelerators. In the universe neutrinos and their sources are considered one of the most difficult things to detect, which is why the discovery is considered important.
Researchers from dozens of research institutions in many countries have made two relevant publications in the journal Nature Astronomy and as relayed by APE-MPE. According to Sioert van Welzen of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, “the origin of cosmic high-energy neutrinos is unknown, primarily because they are extremely difficult to detect. “This is only the second time that the source of such a high-energy neutrino has been detected.”
Both the previous and the new detection were carried out by the US IceCube Neutral Observatory at the South Pole, located at Amundsen-Scott Station in Antarctica, USA. In 2017, this icy detector detected a neutrino, the source of which was determined in 2018 to be an active galaxy (blazer).
The originality this time is that it is the first detectable neutrino from a cataclysmic event, namely the destruction of a doomed star that came very close to a black hole. These events, of which astrophysicists do not know much, can act as powerful natural particle accelerators.
The ultra-high energy neutrino, detected by the IceCube, “struck the Antarctic ice with a remarkable energy of over 100 teraelectron volts. In comparison, it is at least ten times the energy that can be achieved in the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, at CERN “, said the professor of the German University of Bochum, Anna Frankoviak.
Despite their great energy, cosmic neutrinos, which travel in a straight line in the universe, are so light that they penetrate everything unnoticed, even entire planets or stars, which is why they have been called ghost particles. The “capture” of even such a fleeting particle is an achievement.
The detection of the neutrino by the IceCube was followed by astronomical observations with many instruments across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to X-rays, until its source was identified.
The new discovery, according to astronomy professor Marek Kowalski of Humboldt University in Berlin, highlights the importance of multi-messenger astronomy, which is no longer based solely on photons but also on other media. , such as neutrinos and gravitational waves, to study phenomena in the universe.