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NASA’s Fermi: Tracing a Neutrino to Its Sources From Blazing Galaxies Outside the Universe

Moupiya Dutta
Moupiya Dutta
She finds it interesting to learn and analyze society. she keeps herself updated, emphasizing technology, social media, and science. She loves to pen down her thoughts, interested in music, art, and exploration around the globe.

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One of the great mysteries in science is determining what creates the signals that we detect here on Earth. And for the first time, Scientists using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the source of the high-energy Neutrino, which traveled 3.7 billion years before being identified on Earth.

For centuries we’ve known that peeping through the universe is cosmic rays; that originate far beyond our Galaxy. While scientists have been able to unfold some sources of the particles the majority of ones that are most energetic remained a mystery until now as the IceCube Collaboration could detect a cosmic neutrino and identify its sources.

On September 22, 2017, the IceCube collaboration detected an ultra-high-energy neutrino that arrived at the South Pole and was able to identify its source. When a series of gamma-ray telescopes looked at that same position, they not only saw a signal but also identified a blazar, which was flaring at that very moment. At last, humanity has discovered at least one source that creates these ultra-energetic cosmic particles.

High-energy neutrinos are hard-to-catch particles that scientists think are created by the most powerful events in the cosmos, such as galaxy mergers and material falling onto supermassive black holes. They travel at speeds just shy of the speed of light and rarely interact with other matter, allowing them to travel unimpeded across distances of billions of light-years.

The Cosmic Neutrino was discovered by an international team of scientists using the National Science Foundation’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

It is important for scientists to study about neutrinos, cosmic rays, and gamma rays in order to have a better understanding of the turbulent cosmic environments such as supernovas, black holes, and stars.

The most extreme cosmic explosions produce gravitational waves, and the most extreme cosmic accelerators produce high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays. – Regina Caputo, the analysis coordinator for the Fermi Large Area Telescope Collaboration.

In every cubic centimeter of space, hundreds of ghostly, tiny-massed particles known as  Cosmic neutrinos can be found, and since its proposal in 1930, scientists were unable to detect the source of the neutrino, until now where we find a new scientific field, that of high-energy neutrino astronomy, officially launching with this discovery. One of the major goals in building IceCube was to identify the sources of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, and that’s one cosmic dream that’s at last been achieved.

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