Origin of ‘ghost particles’ found: tiny objects that pass through our bodies and planets undetected are emitted from galactic cores fed by supermassive black holes in deep space
- “Ghost particles”, or neutrinos, are particles that come from deep space
- These particles have no mass and hardly interact with matter
- Scientists believe they originated from galactic cores fed by supermassive black holes
- Blazar is known for releasing bright jets and winds, and is believed to also produce cosmic rays
Deep space “ghost particles” likely originate from galactic cores fed by supermassive black holes, according to a new study that could unlock the mystery of these pre-universe subatomic particles.
Ghostly particles, or neutrinos, have puzzled scientists since they were first discovered in 1956 because they have no mass and barely interact with matter.
These tiny particles without an electric charge race through the universe almost unaffected by natural objects or forces, but they are the second most common particles on Earth after photons.
Galactic nuclei, known as blazars, are galaxies with supermassive black holes at their center and positioned with their jets directed directly at Earth.
A team of researchers led by the University of Würzburg has identified the source of the ghost particles by cross-referencing the particle trajectories data and the University of Würzburg’s position in the universe.
They found that 10 of the 19 neutrino hotspots were blazars.
The task of unraveling the mysteries of ghost particles is vital because it will provide a better understanding of how matter evolved from simple particles to the complex particles that created everything around us.
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Artist’s impression of an active galactic nucleus where ghost-like subatomic particles may have originated
At the center of most galaxies, including our own, is a supermassive black hole that creates a disk of gas, dust, and stellar debris around it.
When material in the disk falls toward the black hole, its gravitational energy can be converted into light, making the centers of these galaxies extremely bright and causing them to be called active galactic nuclei (AGN).
When a galaxy falls in such a way that its jets are directed towards Earth, it is called a Blazar and this is the running theory of what produces the ghost particles.
This conclusion was made by researchers who collected data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica, the most sensitive neutrino detector on Earth, in 2008 and 2015.
The study determined that ghost particles come from Blazar by collecting particle data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica (pictured)
This was then compared to BZCat, a catalog of more than 3,500 items that are likely to be blazers.
The results showed that 10 of the 19 IceCube hotspots found in the southern sky likely originated from blazars.
‘The discovery of these high-energy neutrino factories represents a milestone in astrophysics,’ Dr Andrea Tramassery, a researcher in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Geneva, said in a statement.
“It puts us a step further in solving the century-old mystery about the origin of cosmic rays.”
Scientists have been trying to study the elusive particles since Wolfgang Pauli first predicted them in 1931.
Many believe they may hold the key to understanding parts of the universe that remain hidden from our view, such as dark matter and dark energy.
The high-energy neutrino was first detected on September 22, 2017 by the IceCube Observatory, a massive facility that sank a mile below the South Pole.
Here, a network of more than 5,000 ultra-sensitive sensors captured the characteristic blue “Cherenkov” light emitted by the neutrino’s interaction with ice.
The neutrino is believed to have been created by high-energy cosmic rays from jets interacting with nearby matter.
Professor Paul O’Brien, a member of the international team of astronomers from the University of Leicester, said: “Neutrinos rarely interact with matter.
Finding them at all from the universe is astonishing, but identifying a possible source is a victory.
This result will allow us to study the most powerful and far-flung sources of energy in the universe in a completely new way.
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