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Strong Start to a New Astronomical Field

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 08:37AM

Right now there are high energy particles called neutrinos streaming through your body. These particles are produced from high energy events, such as the nuclear fusion of the Sun and experiments at particle accelerators. There are other sources of neutrinos in the Universe, and the IceCube observatory, manned by researchers from across the world, including Berkeley Lab, is helping to find them.

Neutrinos are an interesting family of particles that have very little mass, high energy, and no electrical charge. This makes them very useful, as they can pass through barriers like the atmosphere, and difficult to work with, because they do not always interact with a detector. The IceCube observatory however was designed to catch them, with its 5160 detectors buried under a kilometer and a half of Antarctic ice. So far it is found 28 extremely high energy neutrinos that most likely occurred from astronomical events that took place outside of the Solar System. Two of these were the highest energy neutrinos ever reported then, exceeding one quadrillion volts, and one more actually doubles that.

Now that we are finding some of these neutrinos, the question becomes, 'where are they coming from?' IceCube can point us in the right direction, and currently the best theory is that they are being produced as a result of particle jets from black holes.

Source: Berkeley Lab

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