Origin of ‘Ghost Particles’ DISCOVERED: Tiny objects that pass through our bodies and planets undetected are emitted by galactic nuclei powered by supermassive black holes in deep space
- Ghost particles, or neutrinos, are particles that have arrived from deep space.
- These particles have no mass and practically do not interact with matter.
- Scientists believe they come from the cores of galaxies powered by supermassive black holes.
- Blazars are known for emitting bright jets and wind, and it is hypothesized that they also produce cosmic rays.
Deep space ‘ghost particles’ likely originate from galactic nuclei powered by supermassive black holes, according to a new study, which could solve the mystery of these subatomic particles that formed before the universe.
Ghost particles, or neutrinos, have baffled scientists ever since they were first discovered in 1956 because they have no mass and barely interact with matter.
These tiny particles have no electrical charge and rush through the universe with little to no influence from objects or forces of nature, but they are the second most abundant particles on Earth after photons.
And scientists were on the hunt to find the source of these particles.
A group of international researchers believe it’s a blazar, which is known for emitting bright jets and wind, and also allegedly emits cosmic rays – high-energy protons and atomic nuclei that move through space at almost the speed of light.
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An artist’s impression of an active galactic nucleus where a ghostly subatomic particle is likely to have originated.
At the center of most galaxies, including ours, is a supermassive black hole that creates a disk of gas, dust, and stellar debris around it.
If matter in the disk falls into the black hole, its gravitational energy can be converted into light, making the centers of these galaxies very bright and leading to what they are called active galactic nuclei (AGNs).
When a galaxy is positioned in such a way that its jets point toward the Earth, it is called a blazar, and this is the current theory of what produces the ghost particles.
This conclusion was reached by a team of researchers led by the University of Würzburg, who collected data from the IceCube neutrino observatory in Antarctica, which is the most sensitive neutrino detector on Earth, from 2008 to 2015.
The study determined that the ghost particles come from a blazar by collecting particle data from the IceCube neutrino observatory in Antarctica (pictured).
This was then matched against BZCat, a catalog of over 3,500 objects that are likely blazars.
The results showed that 10 of the 19 IceCube hotspots in the southern sky were likely due to blazars.
Dr. Andrea Tramacere, Research Fellow at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Geneva, said in statement: “The discovery of these high-energy neutrino factories represents a major milestone for astrophysics.
“This takes us a step forward in unraveling the age-old mystery of the origin of cosmic rays.”
Scientists have been trying to study the elusive particles since they were first predicted by Wolfgang Pauli in 1931.
Many believe they may hold the key to understanding parts of the universe that would otherwise remain hidden from our view, such as dark matter and dark energy.
The high-energy neutrino was first detected on September 22, 2017 at the IceCube Observatory, a huge facility that sank a mile below the South Pole.
Here, a grid of more than 5,000 ultra-sensitive sensors captured the characteristic blue “Cherenkov” light emitted when neutrinos interact with ice.
It is believed that neutrinos were created by high-energy cosmic rays from jets interacting with nearby material.
Professor Paul O’Brien, a member of an international team of astronomers from the University of Leicester, said: “Neutrinos rarely interact with matter.
“Detecting them from space is amazing, but identifying a possible source is a triumph.
“This result will allow us to study the most distant powerful sources of energy in the universe in a completely new way.”