A new study found that the ghost particle that smashed into Antarctica in 2019 was traced to a black hole, which tears apart a star like a giant cosmic particle accelerator.
Scientists studied a type of subatomic particles called neutrinos, which are produced by nuclear reactions and the radioactive decay of unstable atoms. Neutrinos are exceptionally light-about 500,000 times lighter than electrons.
Neutrinos have no charge and only rarely interact with other particles. In this way, they can easily pass through matter-the value of lead in one light-year, equivalent to 5.8 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers), will only prevent about half of the neutrinos from flying through it.
However, neutrinos occasionally hit atoms. When this happens, they emit peculiar flashes, which scientists have previously discovered to confirm their existence.
In this new study, the researchers used the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica to examine the extremely high-energy neutrinos they discovered on October 1
The co-author of the study, Anna Franckowiak, now at the University of Bochum, Germany, said in a statement: “It hits with an amazing energy of more than 100 megaelectron volts. In the Antarctic ice.” “By comparison, this is at least 10 times the maximum particle energy that the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, can reach.”
video: Neutrinos can be traced back to black holes crushing a star
related: Strange neutrino behavior can explain the long-standing antimatter mystery
In order to discover the origin of this powerful neutrino, scientists traced its path through space. They found that this may be from the “2MASX J20570298 + 1412165” galaxy located in the constellation of Dolphin Delfinas, which is about 750 million light-years away from Earth.
About six months before scientists detected high-energy neutrinos, astronomers used the Zwicky Transient Observer in Palomar, California to witness the glow of the galaxy. This light may come from a black hole that shredded a star. This is the so-called “AT2019dsg” tidal destruction event.
Researchers believe that a star is too close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way 2MASX J20570298 + 1412165, and its mass is about 30 million times that of the sun. Then, it was torn apart by the huge gravity of the black hole, an extreme form of the moon causing tides to rise and fall on the earth.
Scientists noticed that about half of the star debris was thrown into space, while the other half entered the vortex disk surrounding the black hole. When the material of the disassembled star falls into the disk, it becomes hotter and brighter enough for astronomers to see it from Earth.
Researchers estimate that there is only a one-in-500 chance that this neutrino will coincide with the event. This suggests that scientists may have detected the first particles dating back to tidal destruction events.
The lead author of the study, Robert Stein, a multi-faith astronomer at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Zeuten, Germany, told Space.com: “Theoretical work has long predicted that neutrinos may come from tidal destruction. Incident.” “This work is the first observational evidence to support this claim.” He and his colleagues detailed their findings in an online publication on February 21 in the journal Nature Astronomy.
These new discoveries opened the curtain on tidal destruction, but it is still unclear. Cecilia Lunadini, a particle astrophysicist at Arizona State University, told Space.com. She and her co-author Walter Winter (Walter Winter) detailed their findings online on February 22 in a companion study in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Although these relativistic jets may eject many different kinds of particles, most of them are charged particles, which are deflected by the interstellar magnetic field before reaching the earth. In contrast, neutrinos (with no charge) can travel in straight lines like light rays in tidal destruction events.
Stein said this discovery only marks the second time scientists have traced high-energy neutrinos back to their source. Astronomers first traced this neutrino back to blazar TXS 0506 + 056 in 2018, a huge elliptical galaxy with a fast-rotating supermassive black hole at its center.
Stein said: “Knowing the source of high-energy neutrinos is a big problem in particle astrophysics.” “Now we have more evidence that they may come from tidal interference events.”
A strange aspect of this discovery is that neutrinos were not discovered until half a year after the black hole began to swallow the star. Stein said this shows that tidal destruction events can act like a giant cosmic particle accelerator for months.
Stein said that although the researchers detected only one neutrino from this tidal destruction event, “even if we want to detect one, billions must be generated.” “We are lucky to see one.”
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