Scientists discover source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos for the first time

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Scientists first started theorizing about neutrinos in the 1930s, and by 1956, they confirmed their existence.

The ghostly particles called high-energy neutrinos travel through space, zipping unimpeded through people, planets and whole galaxies - but scientists have never traced their source before.

That detection was made on September 22, 2017, and using telescopes on Earth and in space, the scientists were able to determine that the particle had originated in a galaxy that is almost four billion light years from Earth in the Orion constellation.

Researchers believe we could use high-energy neutrinos to examine distant objects in space.

"Neutrinos provide us with a new window with which to view the universe", said University of Alberta physicist Darren Grant, spokesman for the IceCube scientific collaboration.

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HIGH-ENERGY NEUTRINOS. By identifying the source of a high-energy neutrino, these researchers may be ushering in an entirely new era in astronomy.

Cosmic rays are energetic particles radiation that travel at almost the speed of light and bombard the Earth. It's a puzzle scientists have been trying to solve since the discovery of cosmic rays in 1912.

It appears they come from some of the universe's most violent locales.

Neutrinos are electrically neutral, undisturbed by even the strongest magnetic field, and rarely interact with matter, earning the nickname "ghost particle". The IceCube detector is a massive device made by drilling 86 holes into the Antarctic ice that are each 2,500 meters deep. Some 5,160 light sensors register small flashes of light produced during rare instances when a neutrino collides with an atomic nucleus in the transparent ice.

Cosmic rays are thought to be created in cosmic particle accelerators, such as the one discovered in the target galaxy, that are created by supermassive black holes or exploding stars.

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