Astrophysicists believe they have found the mysterious source of high-energy neutrinos

Astrophysicists believe they have found the mysterious source of high-energy neutrinos

New research has confirmed that some of the brightest and most energetic objects in the universe are the mysterious source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos.

Mass analysis contains galaxies definitively bound to host blazing cores known as blazars with these enigmatic particles.

It’s a finding that provides a truly unexpected solution to the problem of astrophysicists scratching their heads for years.

“The results provide, for the first time, indisputable observational evidence that the Biffatron blazers subsample are extragalactic neutrino sources and thus cosmic ray accelerators,” said astrophysicist Sarah Bosson of Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg, Germany.

Neutrinos are weird little things at the best of times. These subatomic particles are ubiquitous and among the most abundant particles in the universe.

However, its mass is close to zero, it is electrically neutral, and it interacts very little with anything else in the universe. For the neutrino, the normal matter that makes up most of the universe might also be a shadow; This is why they are known as ghost particles.

We know very well where neutrinos come from – ordinary neutrinos.

They are produced by radioactive decay, which is very common. Most neutrinos we detect on Earth are byproducts of nuclear reactions in the Sun, but they can also be produced by supernovae, artificial nuclear reactions, or the interaction between cosmic rays and atoms, for example.

But a private observatory in Antarctica has revealed some really strange things.

Although neutrinos don’t interact much with normal matter, they do do so now and then. When they interact with molecules in water atoms, they can produce very small flashes of light.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory has detectors built into the depths of Antarctic ice that can detect these flashes. These discoveries could reveal the energy of the neutrino.

In 2012, IceCube detected two neutrinos that weren’t like anything we’d seen before. Their energies were on the beta-electronvolt (PeV) scale – 100 million times more energetic than supernova neutrinos. These high-energy neutrinos came from intergalactic space, their origin unknown.

We got a hint about this source in 2018. Because neutrinos don’t interact, they travel pretty much in a straight line through space — so there’s been a massive international collaboration of scientists able to track high-energy neutrinos back into an explosion.

This is the nucleus of a massive galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole, tilted so that jets of ionized matter accelerate to a point close to the speed of light directly on Earth.

“Interestingly, there was a general consensus in the astrophysics community that blazars were unlikely to be sources of cosmic rays, and here we are,” University of Wisconsin-Madison physicist Francis Halzen said at the time.

However, some questions remain about the relationship between blazars and high-energy neutrinos. So a team of scientists led by Boson did what the scientists did: they drilled.

They took 7 years of all-sky neutrino data from IceCube, and painstakingly compared it to a catalog of 3,561 objects that have been confirmed or very likely to be.

They performed in-place matching of these indexes, trying to determine whether high-energy neutrinos could be conclusively linked to blazar positions in the sky.

“With these data, we had to prove that blazars whose orientation directions coincide with the locations of neutrinos did not exist by chance,” explained astrophysicist Andrea Tramacere of the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

“After rolling the dice several times, we discovered that random association can only exceed real data once in a million trials! This is strong evidence that our associations are correct.”

According to the team’s analysis, the probability of a random occurrence is 0.0000006. This indicates that at least some blazars are capable of producing high-energy neutrinos, which in turn help solve another problem. The origin of high-energy cosmic rays – protons and atomic nuclei that flow through space at nearly the speed of light – is also a big mystery.

According to Boson, high-energy neutrinos are produced exclusively in processes involving the acceleration of cosmic rays. This means, by inference, that we can now associate blazars with cosmic ray acceleration, the team said.

“The process of accretion and rotation of the black hole leads to the formation of relativistic jets, in which particles accelerate and emit radiation with energies of up to a thousand billion of visible light!” Tramacere said.

“The discovery of the relationship between these objects and cosmic rays may be a Rosetta stone in high-energy astrophysics.”

From here, there are many avenues that require further exploration. The first is to try to discover why some blazars are effective particle accelerators while others are not. This will help the team determine the properties of the neutrino factory, and where else in the universe we might find it.

In addition, more detailed analyzes of the neutrino data may lead to more discoveries about the birthplaces of these strange, ghostly particles.

The search was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

#Astrophysicists #mysterious #source #highenergy #neutrinos

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