Feeds

Neutrinos from another galaxy hit ice with black-hole force

IceCube detector turns up energetic surprise

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

If they're neutrinos – the scientists are being cautious about that, not yet having the six-sigma certainty that particle physics likes – they're rather exciting excited ones: two neutrinos believed detected at the IceCube detector in Antarctica have huge energy and probably came from outside our galaxy.

The energy claimed for the neutrinos is more than a petaelectronvolt, which according to Nature's post about the observation is more than 100 million times the energy of neutrinos emitted by supernovae.

The neutrinos were first observed in 2012, but analysis of their characteristics has only now been completed and announced.

As Phil Plait explains in Bad Astronomy, a petaelectronvolt neutrino is packing quite a punch: a thousand trillion times the energy of a visible photon (I'll trust his calculation).

IceCube detects neutrinos from the Cherenkov radiation emitted if they collide with the ice atoms. Completed in 2010, it consists of 86 detectors up to 2,450 meters below the surface, in the ice below the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

The detectors surround a huge amount of ice – IceCube is a kilometre on each side – so as to catch the rare interactions between neutrinos and normal matter.

Sensor descends down a hole in the ice as part of the final season of IceCube. Credit: NSF/B Gudbjartsson

IceCube sensor installation

While there's an outside chance that the neutrinos might be produced by high-energy atmospheric cosmic ray interactions, the IceCube collaborators think it's more likely that they're part of the output of a very energetic astronomical phenomenon: possibly from the same source as gamma-ray bursts, or jets emerging from black holes. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.