Integral joins campaign to study high-energy neutrino source


Some theorized neutrinos and galactic cosmic rays, beams of high-energy radiation, were produced by the same faraway phenomena.

HIGH-ENERGY NEUTRINOS. By identifying the source of a high-energy neutrino, these researchers may be ushering in an entirely new era in astronomy. Astronomers had designated this blazar as TXS 0506+056. They discovered high energy neutrino in deep ancient ice beneath the surface of Antarctica, and then brought their source back into a huge oval galaxy, in which a blazer with a large, fast spinning black hole on its origin is called Located 3.7 billion light-years from Earth.

Data from Fermi revealed enhanced gamma-ray emission from a well-known active galaxy at the time the neutrino arrived.

The IceCube team released two papers in Science that cover what their observatory recorded to have happened on September 22 a year ago. NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) Telescope in the Canary Islands.

Backtracking the path through IceCube indicated where in the sky the neutrino came from, and automated alerts notified astronomers around the globe to search this region for flares or outbursts that could be associated with the event. Because they interact with matter at only very small subatomic distances and have nearly no mass - hence their nickname "ghost particle" - neutrinos travel in a straight line from where they originate, breezing through planets, stars and entire galaxies, giving scientists a pointer nearly directly to their source.

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The lure of neutrinos for astronomy is that it is possible to trace them back to their origins. The convergence of multi-messenger observations identified the blazar as the source.

"Astronomy started when people looked at the night sky, and that's light hitting your eyes", says Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, an astrophysicist at Drexel University in Philadelphia and another member of the IceCube collaboration.

The researchers detail this discovery in a trio of papers published July 12, one in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters and the other two in Science.

Neutrinos, sometimes called ghost particles, are electrically neutral and almost massless, allowing them to travel through the cosmos for billions of light-years, passing unhindered through galaxies, stars, planets and dust. They also found cosmic rays and gamma rays coming from the same place, confirming their suspicions. They can travel in a straight line, passing through different galaxies, planets, stars, and other cosmic bodies, until eventually arriving on Earth unscathed - such was the case of the neutrino found in the South Pole on September 22, 2017. This time Scientists by using the data from a detector which was embedded in a great block of ice at the South Pole, get to trace that an eerie and elusive particle's presence.

Dozens of scientists and engineers across multiple divisions at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) played a role in the design, development, and deployment of the IceCube neutrino sensor array at the South Pole. Completed in 2010, the observatory has been waiting for subtle signs of neutrino reactions in the Antarctic ice. Astronomers have long puzzled over the origin of rare but incredible high energy events where atomic nuclei travelling close to the speed of light come crashing into the Earth's atmosphere. The center brings together scientific, engineering, computing and educational resources around the theme of particle astrophysics.