Following a news conference on Thursday morning, an international team of researchers stated that they might have uncovered the source of some of the highest-energy cosmic rays, which would be a blazar. This atypical galaxy is located in the constellation Orion, approximately four billion light-years away from our planet.
The discovery of the “ghost particle”
Scientists have wondered for a very long time what is the origin of these cosmic rays that attack the Earth, and now they were able to finally come up with an answer. The explanation came as a result of many astronomers from around the globe searching for a so-called “ghost particle”. This particle is known as a high-energy neutrino and it reached a huge underground detector in Antarctica last year in September.
A significant moment in the scientific world
The particle was discovered by researchers with the help of telescopes and it is of great importance in the scientific world, as this is the first time when a high-energy neutrino has been followed on the way back to its origin, a great distance from our solar system.
Why is this discovery so important?
The new findings are noteworthy because they lead the way to a completely new type of astronomy, one that will make use not only of light, but also of subatomic particles. This will clearly help the scientists examine objects in deep space.
Overall, more than 2,000 blazars have been found, and while astronomers have long suspected that these are the source of cosmic rays, no evidence was found until now. What is also special about high-energy neutrinos is that they do not interact with either matter or magnetic fields, which causes them to move in a straight line from their source to Earth. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s easy to detect them, as it’s quite unlikely for them to hit the Earth.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.