If you Google “Messier 77,” you’ll see what might be a familiar image of a bright, dusty spiral galaxy. It is located about 47 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cetaceans. The last time the Hubble Space Telescope photographed it was in 2013. Underneath all this dust is a supermassive black hole that produces intense radiation. Currently Reports on International IceCube Cooperation in “Science”They found evidence that the galaxy is also a source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos. This discovery could pave the way for cosmic neutrinos to be used for astrophysical measurements. With their help, it is possible to understand the origin of cosmic rays (high-energy particles that reach us every day from the depths of the Milky Way and other galaxies) and the mystery of dark matter can be solved.
“This observation marks the beginning of true neutrino astronomy,” said Janet Conrad, an IceCube member and professor at MIT. for physics magazine. “We’ve worked and struggled for a long time to see potential very high-energy cosmic neutrino sources, and now it’s finally time,” she said. “We have broken the barrier.”
Neutrinos, once called ghost particles, are created in completely different ways: some have existed since the Big Bang, others are formed when cosmic rays collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. The sun is also a source of neutrinos. Most of these particles hitting the Earth come from the nuclear reactions inside. They fly almost unhindered across the universe and even across the Earth. Several quadrillion of them stream through us every second. So-called cosmic neutrinos are among the most energetic and most frequent particles in space. Their origin poses many mysteries to researchers. The fact that it interacts so little with matter is a problem when it comes to detecting it, but an advantage when trying to trace the path a cosmic neutrino takes from its source to Earth.
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