Experiment reveals strange ghost particles in Antarctica

Neutrinos are particles that are similar to electrons, but neutral in charge and has an extremely small mass. Neutrality shown by a neutrino is so extreme that it can pass through any material almost untouched.

For the subatomic world, neutrinos behave like a ghost, rarely interacting with other constituents. Atomic decay deep inside the Sun sends torrents of these particles flying across the solar system. Every second a lot of these particles pass through our planet, with only a small fraction of them interacting with an atom to cause any response.

Since 2010 IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica have been set up to detect the presence of these particles. If a neutrino happens to collide with a frozen water molecule it produces a flash. The IceCube facility uses long strips of spherical highly sensitive optical sensors called Digital Optical Modules (DOMs) to capture such flashes.

The observatory has been recording around hundreds of flashes a day creating a vast database of information on the direction and energies of Neutrinos that visited Earth.

Along with IceCube NASA’s ANITA (Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna) have also been busy studying the so-called ultra high energy cosmic neutrinos. ANITA studies this from an altitude of 40 KMS, suspended by a helium balloon. Things took a bizarre turn when ANITA discovered two of such neutrino signals came from our planet itself, instead of the sky.

Neutrino signals to have travelled all the way through the planet to reach ANITA was something extraordinary. Scientist thought this could be a rare occurrence and for it to happen they assumed large quantities of Neutrinos must have passed through Earth at one point.

If so, IceCube must have also recorded it. Based on this observation a group of scientists went through the data IceCube had. Their aim was to find potential events that could be held responsible for this strange phenomenon to happen.

Their search turned up nothing. IceCube data couldn’t show any relevant information for the said event. The findings of the team are available at arXiv.org. The team also has submitted their finding the Astrophysical Journal, where the results will receive greater scrutiny from the scientific community.

As of now the newly discovered particles remains a mystery for scientists. Conventional science has failed to explain what happened. Many speculations are coming up as the Icecube data analysis has failed. It could be a new completely new particle or our standard model of the atom might be flawed. We will have to wait for further research and studies to one day demystify this.


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