An international team of scientists has found the first evidence of a source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, ghostly subatomic particles that can travel unhindered for billions of light years from the most extreme environments in the universe to Earth.
The observations, made by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station and confirmed by telescopes around the globe and in Earth’s orbit, help resolve a more than a century-old riddle about what sends subatomic particles such as neutrinos and cosmic rays speeding through the universe.
AMON played a key role in this discovery, helping to design and implement the alert system that initiated the discovery. On Fri 22 Sep 17 20:55:13 UT, GCN/AMON notice type “AMON ICECUBE EHE” was broadcast and quickly followed-up by the Swift satellite, the first to identify TXS 0506+056 as a possible candidate source for the neutrino IceCube-170922A. Shortly thereafter the Fermi LAT satellite observed a brightening of the TXS source, initiating a host of additional follow-up observations including the MAGIC ground-based telescope which observed high-energy gamma rays emanating from the same source.
AMON team members Doug Cowen, Derek Fox and Azadeh Keivani wrote an article for The Conversation about this exciting event.
Here are links to the papers in Science:
- “Multimessenger observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high-energy neutrino IceCube-170922A”, http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aat1378.
- “Neutrino emission from the direction of the blazar TXS 0506+056 prior to the IceCube-170922A alert”, http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aat2890.
And here are some more articles in the popular press, featuring quotes from Azadeh, Derek and others: