IceCube neutrino evaluation pegs potential galactic supply for cosmic rays

Artist’s representation of a cosmic neutrino source shining above the IceCube Observatory at the South Pole. Beneath the ice are photodetectors that pick up the neutrino signals.

Enlarge / Artist’s illustration of a cosmic neutrino supply shining above the IceCube Observatory on the South Pole. Beneath the ice are photodetectors that choose up the neutrino alerts. (credit score: IceCube/NSF)

Ever since French physicist Pierre Auger proposed in 1939 that cosmic rays should carry unimaginable quantities of power, scientists have puzzled over what might be producing these highly effective clusters of protons and neutrons raining down onto Earth’s environment. One potential means for figuring out such sources is to backtrack the paths that high-energy cosmic neutrinos traveled on their approach to Earth, since they’re created by cosmic rays colliding with matter or radiation, producing particles that then decay into neutrinos and gamma rays.

Scientists with the IceCube neutrino observatory on the South Pole have now analyzed a decade’s value of such neutrino detections and found proof that an energetic galaxy known as Messier 77 (aka the Squid Galaxy) is a robust candidate for one such high-energy neutrino emitter, based on a brand new paper printed within the journal Science. It brings astrophysicists one step nearer to resolving the thriller of the origin of high-energy cosmic rays.

“This commentary marks the daybreak of having the ability to actually do neutrino astronomy,” IceCube member Janet Conrad of MIT instructed APS Physics. “We have struggled for thus lengthy to see potential cosmic neutrino sources at very excessive significance and now we have seen one. We have damaged a barrier.”

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