A galaxy imaged thanks to neutrinos.  You haven’t seen this Milky Way yet

Scientists have obtained a completely new image of the Milky Way. It was created by identifying neutrino sources recorded by IceCube – a detector at Earth’s south pole.

We watched until today Universe Only one way. We’ve recorded electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths – mostly light – coming from different regions. Universe. However, that has just changed. The latest issue of the prestigious journal Science published a paper describing how this might happen For the first time, scientists have created an image of the Milky Way using neutrinos. So not light, but particles of matter.

“Observing our galaxy with particles is a huge step forward,” said Naoko Kurahashi-Nelson, a Drexler University physicist and member of the IceCube detector team. – As neutrino astronomy advances, we gain new lenses through which we can view the universe she added.

The neutrino was called the elusive elementary particle. Its discoverer, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, guessed the existence of the neutrino by studying beta decay, a type of nuclear decay. Experimental data obtained by scientists studying beta decay about 100 years ago did not agree with this theory. To remove the discrepancies, Pauli suggested including a completely new particle in the equations – the neutrino.

However, for everything to fit in, neutrinos must have special properties: Very low mass and no electric charge. It should not interact with “normal” matter.. Pauli was a little afraid of his idea. He thought he had invented a particle that could never be detected.

Fortunately, he was wrong. They have been produced in the world for several decades detectors, effectively catching elusive neutrinos. One of them is IceCube, which operates in Antarctica.

The Earth – and each of us – is constantly being bombarded with neutrinos. it is expected that Every second, 60 billion neutrinos from space pass through a square centimeter of the Earth’s surface.

It is difficult for neutrinos to interact with matter It penetrates freely through nebulae, planets and even stars. They come from different sources: from the disks of the galaxy, from the stars, from the blazars, but also from the Earth’s atmosphere. They appear in the atmosphere when cosmic rays collide with atmospheric particles.

Depending on the source, neutrinos have different energies. Among other things, this allows you to learn about their origin. Seven years ago, a high-energy neutrino from a distant star was first detected. The observations were made with the help of the IceCube Observatory. A year ago, thanks to IceCube, neutrinos were linked to a galaxy 47 million light-years away.

IceCube Observatory / Photo: IceCube Collaboration (Yuya Makino) / US National Science Foundation

The IceCube consists of 5,160 light sensors housed in 2.5-kilometer craters etched into the ice.. They record the bursts that occur when neutrinos collide with frozen water molecules. On average, once every few minutes, the detector records the appearance of neutrinos – but most often these are neutrinos in the atmosphere. Sifting these events out from others – for example allowing the creation of an image of the galaxy – turns out to be critical to the creation process. Neutrino image of the Milky Way.

This was done using data collected by IceCube over a period of 10 years. The scientists focused on these events, which resulted in specific light cascades in the detector. The light patterns inside the IceCube determine where the neutrinos that caused them came from and what energy they have.

Machine learning has been shown to be useful by analyzing a huge amount of data. The IceCube was first developed by three researchers from the International Science Consortium who run the IceCube artificial intelligence algorithm. Then they trained him for two years to simulate the data. Then I provided him with real data. The program processed it by generating Image of the Milky Way with the distinct regions where the neutrinos came from.

As expected in theory, it was The galactic plane, where gamma rays also come from. Gamma rays are produced when cosmic rays collide with interstellar gas. The byproduct of such collisions must also be neutrinos. However, until now, with the help of detectors, it has not been possible to detect neutrinos from such a source. Now the exact theory has been confirmed: As expected, a large portion of the neutrinos recorded came from the center of the Milky Way.

For several decades, scientists have been testing new ways to explore space. In addition to observations in visible and infrared light, they are buoyant Gravitational wave astronomy – with a major breakthrough announced today against the backdrop of gravitational wave – and neutrino astronomy. Each of these methods provides new information about the Milky Way and the universe.

Kurahashi Nelson concluded, “We do this to see things no one else has seen before, and to understand things we haven’t understood before.” “I remember saying, ‘At this point in human history We are the first to see the Milky Way in something other than light“.

sources: EureAlertAnd Sciences.

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