Feeds

Tiny, invisible EXTRATERRESTRIAL INVADERS appear at South Pole

Dozens travelled here almost at warp speed to hit beneath stilt base

Application security programs and practises

Scientists at the South Pole have detected a collection of warp speed neutrinos from deep space that could help explain the origins of the universe.

A team from the mighty IceCube telescope laboratory in Antarctica will reveal their findings in tomorrow's Science journal.

The experts' 28 intergalactic subatomic particles were detected by the Cherenkov radiation emitted when they (unusually - most neutrinos go right through the Earth without stopping) hit something within a cubic kilometre of intrumented-up polar ice at the South Pole. They are thought to have originated from outside the Solar System, and likely from outside our galaxy, the Milky Way.

No oxide, just neutrino ... The particle-catching lab in Antarctica

Having identified the particles, the boffins believe that they can gain new insight into the workings of black holes, pulsars and other wonders of space that emit the subatomic particles.

The equipment is able to differentiate between neutrinos from outside the Solar System with those that may have originated from the Sun or the Earth's own atmosphere, which could reveal more about astrophysical phenomena billions of light-years from our home world. The extraterrestrial neutrinos screamed through the void almost at the speed of light before smashing in the Earth's snow.

"Neutrino observations are a unique probe of the universe’s highest-energy phenomena: Neutrinos are able to escape from dense astrophysical environments that photons cannot and are unambiguous tracers of cosmic ray acceleration," wrote the team in their scientific paper.

"As protons and nuclei are accelerated, they interact with gas and background light near the source to produce subatomic particles such as charged pions and kaons, which then decay, emitting neutrinos. We report on results of an all-sky search for these neutrinos at energies above 30 TeV in the cubic kilometer antarctic IceCube observatory between May 2010 and May 2012."

The team, based out of the University of Wisconsin, said that the discovery of subatomic particles in ice has been in the making for more than a quarter century. The Ice Cube itself, deep in the polar ice sheet, is operated from the famous Amundsen-Scott stilt base.

The discovery is only the second such observation of interstellar neutrinos by scientists. In 1987, a wave of particles from a supernova reached Earth and was observed by scientists. Since then, researchers have been looking for another source of the subatomic particles not generated by the Sun nor the Earth's own atmosphere.

"This is the first indication of very high-energy neutrinos coming from outside our solar system, with energies more than one million times those observed in 1987 in connection with a supernova seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud," said University of Wisconisn-Madison professor and IceCube principal investigator Francis Halzen.

"It is gratifying to finally see what we have been looking for. This is the dawn of a new age of astronomy." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.