An international team of researchers has identified neutrinos originating from the galaxy NGC 1068 in the Cetus constellation for the first time ever. A supermassive black hole seems to be accelerating the “ghost particles” toward Earth. The neutrinos were discovered by the University of Wisconsin-1-billion-ton Madison’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is buried in the South Pole about a mile under the ice. The subatomic particle known as a neutrino is so minuscule that it may travel through any object, including people, without ever coming in contact with an atom. The majority of neutrinos found on Earth originate from the Sun, but some also come from other places, such distant galaxies.
Researchers with the international project have identified the source of 80 neutrinos as an active galaxy called NGC 1068, located 47 million light-years from Earth. This discovery was made possible by recent upgrades to the enormous IceCube Neutrino Observatory detector and new modeling using machine learning. Wisconsin Physics Neutrinos are essential particles, according to Professor Francis Halzen, the chief investigator for the IceCube observatory. They enable nuclear physics. Halzen said technology has just lately been able to identify the source of neutrinos originating from interstellar space, despite the fact that scientists have known about their presence since 1912.
This is the first step towards resolving that issue, Halzen added. According to Halzen, the only equipment capable of performing this science right now is the IceCube detector. It has been operating continuously for ten years beneath the South Pole, capturing minute blue light flashes caused by neutrinos interacting with ice nuclei. This is one of astronomy’s oldest issues, according to Halzen. “We definitely have the capabilities now to have a good shot at figuring out where this radiation comes from,” said the researcher.
Halzen acknowledged that there are now far more questions than there are answers, but it appears that the NGC 1068 galaxy’s supermassive black hole is the source of the 80 neutrinos that were detected by the IceCube instrument. He believes that the enormous power required to create neutrinos and transmit them into space is being supplied by the black hole. Halzen declared, “The physics at the level I describe is extremely compelling. “The absence of specifics is the issue. But isn’t that how science operates? We must now attempt to understand how this operates in detail.”
Halzen said that although neutrino astronomy is still in its infancy, scientists throughout the globe have plans to construct detectors akin to UW-IceCube Madison’s observatory in the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Baikal in Russia. Others, he claimed, are being developed in Canada and China. For this to be considered “serious astronomy,” according to Halzen, “we need better detectors, better telescopes, greater angular resolution, and we need many of them.”