nutrinos

Around a million, billion neutrinos from the Sun will pass through your body while you read this sentence.

A nutrino is a neutral sub-atomic particle of such small mass that it passes through matter undisturbed.

Its mass has never before been measured accurately and this picture is a device that was set up to detect nutrinos, as VERY ocasionaly they will colide with matter producing energy in the form of light/heat. but this energy is so small that it is virtually undetectable.

Nutrinos are formed from redioactive decay, or nuclear reactions, which is why the sun gives of so many.

cosmosmagazine.com
High-energy neutrino nabbed by Antarctic detector
A slippery particle trapped and traced.

They’re the most high-energy particles in the Universe, but neutrinos also incredibly elusive. Now researchers report that they have detected the most powerful neutrino yet, and even its galaxy of origin. 

Some 9.1 billion years ago, a giant galaxy burped a blast of neutrinos – the most energetic particles in the Universe. And today, an international team of scientists reports it caught one of the elusive particles in a massive cube of ice buried near the South Pole.

The study, led by Matthias Kadler from the University of Würzburg in Germany and published in Nature Physics, describes the high-energy particle, whose arrival coincided with an outburst in a distant galaxy.

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. They’re tiny – about the size of an electron – and travel almost at the speed of light, but carry no charge. This means they’re able to whiz through solid matter and electromagnetic fields with ease. Trillions of neutrinos flow through your body every second.

But it’s their size and neutrality that makes them so hard to capture, even though they’re the most abundant particles.

Enter the South Pole Neutrino Observatory, better known as the IceCube: a cubic kilometre of ice filled with sensors hanging from “strings” but encased in Antarctic ice up to 2.5 kilometres deep. The sensors are designed to capture flashes of light, created on the odd occasion a neutrino interacts with water molecules as it barrels through Earth.

Almost 40 flashes have been picked up by IceCube since 2010, but all bar three have been less than a petavolt in energy.

One of these high-energy neutrinos was picked up in 2012, when IceCube detected a flash of two petavolts – the most powerful yet. But while scientists had some idea of the neutrino’s path, it couldn’t pinpoint where the neutrino came from. To trace its origin, the team turned to radio telescopes.

A number of telescopes are trained on interesting objects, such as big old galaxies. One galaxy – dubbed PKS B1424-418 – has been under surveillance for decades. It’s 9.1 billion light-years from Earth, so formed when the Universe with relatively young.

From 2011 to 2014, it changed dramatically, morphing shape and brightening to four times its previous luminosity. When the researchers examined the galaxy’s energy output, it was high enough to explain the neutrino.

It was, they calculate with a 5% margin of error, the neutrino’s source.

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scienmag.com
Scientists seek new physics using ORNL's intense neutrino source - Scienmag
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June XX, 2016--Soon to be deployed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is an experiment to explore new physics associated with neutrinos.
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The Precision Oscillation and Spectrum Experiment, or PROSPECT, is led by Yale University and includes partners from 14 academic and governmental institutions. The DOE High Energy Physics program will support the experiment at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL. The neutrino, the subject of a 2015 Nobel Prize, remains a poorly understood fundamental particle of the Standard Model of particle physics.

These electrically neutral subatomic particles are made in stars and nuclear reactors as a byproduct of radioactive decay processes. They interact with other matter via the weak force, making their detection difficult. As a result of this elusiveness, neutrinos are the subject of many interesting and challenging detection experiments, including PROSPECT.

“Unique capabilities of ORNL will enable us to broaden the understanding of neutrino properties,” said David Dean, director of ORNL’s Physics Division. “The expansion of neutrino experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a win for the lab because we have a new scientific focus area, and a win for the scientific community because ORNL has unique neutrino sources that physicists will utilize to explore neutrino science.”

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Antarctica Mission Searches for Ghostly Blue Glow from Supernova Explosions, Gamma Ray Bursts and the Big Bang

A team at the South Pole is using GPU technology to detect the blue light of colliding neutrinos submerged deep in the ice. A mile beneath Antarctica’s surface, thousands of spherical digital sensors are suspended in the ice. It would seem they have nothing to record. At that depth, the ice appears pitch black. It’s also clear; any bubbles have been pushed out by the intense pressure. It’s deathly quiet. But the sensors — which are part of the National Science Foundation-funded IceCube Project — are looking for something.

They are waiting to detect tiny charged particles that emit flashes of ghostly blue light in the dark ice. The flashes are Cherenkov radiation — the same thing that gives nuclear reactors their glow. The particles are a product of neutrinos interacting with ice, and it’s the neutrinos that the scientists are actually after. The light simply indicates where neutrinos have collided with something.

Neutrinos are perhaps the most pervasive yet least understood of the dozen fundamental particles,” said Doug Cowen, Penn State researcher and professor of physics in the Eberly College of Science. “The IceCube technology allows us to understand more about their properties and is uniquely capable of discovering the highest neutrino energies.”

Neutrinos are born from violent galactic events — supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts and the Big Bang. They’re the second most common particle in the universe (after photons) and about 100 trillion pass through the human body every second.

These particles are important because they can give scientists insight about supernovas and cosmic rays. The neutrinos travel in straight lines — by studying their energy and the direction they came from, scientists can try to trace them back to their cosmic origins.

The only problem is finding them — weakly interacting and with next to no mass, neutrinos are notoriously tricky to track down and have been nicknamed “the ghost particle.”

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