Scientists at the IceCube Observatory at the South Pole have confirmed the existence of cosmic neutrinos, strange particles from beyond the Milky Way.
An observatory hidden at the South Pole has recently detected massless, ghastly particles that originated points from beyond our own galaxy. According to a report from NBC, the finding confirms the existence of cosmic neutrinos, bizarre particles that originated from black holes, supernovae, and distant galaxies.
Neutrinos were discovered at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which consists of 86 shafts that burrow 8,000 feet into the ice near the South Pole. Each shaft is fitted with instruments that detect light signatures from high-energy particles plowing through the ice near the speed of light.
Neutrinos are particles with nearly no mass, and can shoot through matter with ease. They are thought to originate from sources with a ton of energy, like exploding stars, galactic cores, and black holes.
Neutrinos rarely interact with matter, but when they manage to hit an atomic nucleus from time to time, they generate a particle called a muon. Researchers scan the chambers in the observatory for muons, which appear to move faster than the speed of light through solids and generate their own light waves, known as Cherenkov radiation.
Scientists at the IceCube Observatory found neutrinos in the ice in 2013, but a team of physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison needed to verify that they didn’t come from our own solar system first. They observed neutrinos bombarding the earth from directions and all at the same rate, which meant they were approaching at paths not affected by our own orbit.
The trajectory of the neutrinos as they blast through the Earth was the smoking gun , as they can now confirm that these particles bombarding the Earth have origins elsewhere in the universe. The team will continue to analyze data from the observatory to further understand these strange particles.