Home > News > 'Ghost particle' mystery

More News

 
internship communication spca

Internship helps animals

As an intern, 2021 communication graduate Regina Donato gained valuable experience while helping the Delaware SPCA "make a name for ourselves on social media," the organization says.
 
fulbright student award 2021

Fulbright winner

Kathrin Reed, a doctoral student in political science and international relations, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award, which she will use to conduct field research in Cambodia.
 
CONNECT
Make a GiftYouTubeEMailTwitter

'Ghost particle' mystery

Image Picker for Section 0
Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Scientists trace source of high-energy neutrinos for the first time

Two UD researchers at the South Pole

UD researcher Tom Gaisser (left) and senior electronics instrument technician James Roth stand before the marker for the geographic South Pole. UD was part of the international collaboration that built the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Antarctic ice and its IceTop surface array of detectors.

An international science team that includes researchers from the University of Delaware has found the first evidence of a source of what astronomers call "ghost particleshigh-energy neutrinos that can travel unhindered over billions of light years from the most extreme environments in the cosmos to Earth.

The observations, made by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the AmundsenScott South Pole Station and confirmed by telescopes around the world and in space, help answer a more than century-old riddle about what cataclysmic forces can send neutrinos and cosmic raysparticles smaller than an atomspeeding through the universe nearly as fast as light.

Two papers publishing July 13 in the journal Science point to a giant galaxy containing a blazar as a source of high-energy neutrinos detected by the National Science Foundation-supported observatory.

 This blazar, designated by astronomers as TXS 0506+056, was first singled out following a neutrino alert sent by IceCube on Sept. 22, 2017. The first paper explains the new discovery and the second paper shares information from observations made over the past 10 years that supports these conclusions. 

This is the smoking gun, said Thomas K. Gaisser, Martin A. Pomerantz Chaired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UD. Active galaxies have always been the leading contender for producing high-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos, but we didnt have the evidence until now.

Equipped with a nearly real-time alert systemtriggered when a very high-energy neutrino collides with the nucleus of an atom in the Antarctic ice in or near the IceCube detectorthe observatory broadcast coordinates of the Sept. 22 neutrino alert to telescopes worldwide for follow-up observations.

Other observatories, including NASAs orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescope, or MAGIC, in the Canary Islands, detected a flare of high-energy gamma rays associated with TXS 0506+056, further implicating the blazar as the most likely source.

For the scientists, it was a bit of a surprise.

It wasnt in the list of potential sources we were looking at, Gaisser said. This one never popped up before.

The cosmic ray connection

The IceCube team refers to blazar TXS 0506+056 as Texas. Youll find it in the night sky just off the left shoulder of the constellation Orion about 4 billion light years from Earth.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Artist's rendering of the IceCube lab

In this artist's rendering, the IceCube Lab at the South Pole is seen with an aurora. In this rendering, based on a real image of the IceCube Lab, a distant source emits neutrinos that are detected below the ice by IceCube sensors, called digital optical modules or DOMs.

A blazar is a supermassive black holewith material whirling around it, and huge jets of material bursting from itat the center of an elliptical galaxy. Millions of times the mass of the sun, the black hole sucks in matter when it is actively accreting, and twin jets of light and subatomic particles blast out from the poles along the axis of the black holes rotation. One of the jets of blazar TXS 0506+056 points at Earth.

The connection of these jets to high-energy cosmic rays is of great interest to us, said Gaisser, who comes from a distinguished line of particle physicists at the Bartol Research Institute in the UD Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The late Martin Pomerantz, Gaissers mentor and former Bartol Institute director, pioneered astronomy and astrophysics research in Antarctica. This harsh environment is an ideal place for such studies because cosmic rays can enter at the poles unimpeded by Earths magnetic field.

Since they were first detected over one hundred years ago, cosmic rayshighly energetic particles that continuously rain down on Earth from spacehave posed an enduring mystery: Where do they come from?

Because cosmic rays are charged particles, their paths cannot be traced directly back to their sources due to the strong magnetic fields that fill space and warp their trajectories. But the powerful cosmic accelerators that produce them may also produce neutrinos.

Neutrinos are uncharged particles, unaffected by even the most powerful magnetic field. Because they rarely interact with matter and have almost no masshence their sobriquet ghost particleneutrinos travel nearly undisturbed from their accelerators, giving scientists an almost direct pointer to their source.

The era of multimessenger astrophysics is here, said NSF Director France C??rdova. Each messengerfrom electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves and now neutrinosgives us a more complete understanding of the universe, and important new insights into the most powerful objects and events in the sky. Such breakthroughs are only possible through a long-term commitment to fundamental research and investment in superb research facilities.

Worlds largest particle detector

Spotting the highest energy neutrinos requires a massive particle detector, and IceCube is by volume the worlds largest. Encompassing a cubic kilometer of deep, pristine ice a mile beneath the surface at the South Pole, the detector, which UD scientists helped build, is composed of more than 5,000 light sensorson 86 cables on a grid with a spacing more than the length of a football field.

When a neutrino interacts with the nucleus of an atom, it creates a secondary charged particle, which, in turn, produces a characteristic cone of blue light that is detected by IceCube and mapped through the detectors grid of photomultiplier tubes. Because the charged particle and light it creates stay essentially true to the neutrinos direction, they give scientists a path to follow back to the source.

Following the Sept. 22 detection, the IceCube team quickly scoured the detectors archival data and discovered a flare of over a dozen astrophysical neutrinos detected in late 2014 and early 2015, coincident with the same blazar, TXS 0506+056. This independent observation adds to a growing body of data that indicates TXS 0506+056 is the first known accelerator of the highest energy neutrinos and cosmic rays.

The IceCube Collaboration, with more than 300 scientists in 49 institutions from around the world, runs an extensive scientific program that has established the foundations of neutrino astronomy. Their research efforts, including critical contributions to the detector operation, are funded by agencies in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Article by UD communications staff with material from the IceCube Collaboration; photos and illustrations courtesy of South Pole Group, Science magazine, IceCube/NASA

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
News Story Supporting Images and Text
Used in the Home Page News Listing and for the News Rollup Page
An international team including scientists from UD has found the first evidence of a source of what astronomers call "ghost particles, high-energy neutrinos that travel to Earth.
7/16/2018
Yes
Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
ghost particle icecube research
No
 
 
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
'Ghost particle' mystery