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Ghost Particles Erupting from Antarctica Could Shatter Standard Physics

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Physics   |   Science  
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Ultra-high-energy neutrinos are hitting Antarctica, so what experiments are working to discover the particles?
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Three times since 2016, ultra-high-energy particles have blasted up through the ice of Antarctica, setting off detectors in the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment.

ANITA is a machine dangling from a NASA balloon far above the frozen surface designed to study ultra-high-energy cosmic neutrinos by taking advantage of the ice sheets that blanket Antarctica.

Neutrinos are ultra-lightweight and chargeless particles that almost never interact with other matter. Because of those properties, neutrinos can travel through entire planets without being affected.

At least thats true for the low-energy neutrinos we usually talk about. Its a different story for the ultra-high-energy variety that we are talking about in this Elements..

These ultra-high-energy neutrinos have wider cross sections, meaning theyre more likely to collide with other particles as they pass and they dont penetrate very far before they interact with something causing a cascade of particles that gives off what scientists describe as a snap of radio frequencies.

In order to pick up these Askaryan pulses, scientists need a radio transparent medium somewhere without a lot of other radio signals, so the particle interaction can occur but the Askaryan pulses can still propagate.

And that is why the ANITA experiment was flown over Antarctica.

Find out more about the experiment and its resulting data in this Elements.

#neutrinos #NASA #antarctica #seeker #science #elements

Read More:
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Here's the problem: Neutrinos are weird. Ultra-faint particles, most of them are so low-energy and insubstantial that they pass through our entire planet without stopping. For decades, scientists thought that they had no mass at all. In the original version of the Standard Model, which describes particle physics, the neutrino was utterly weightless. About two decades ago, that changed. Physicists now know that neutrinos have mass, albeit in miniscule amounts. And they aren't sure yet precisely why that mass is.

Neutrinos Have Been Detected With Such High Energy That The Standard Model Cant Explain Them
A neutrino detector is typically a large chamber filled with pure water or ice. Within this chamber are very sensitive detectors. Neutrinos arent observed directly. Instead, a neutrino detector waits for a neutrino to smack into an atom. When it does, it can create charged leptons, such as an electron, muon or tauon. These charged particles can also produce light. So by detecting the light or leptons, we know that a neutrino has interacted with the detector.

Researchers find way to show how the tiniest particles in our Universe saved us from complete annihilation
According to the Big Bang theory of modern cosmology, matter was created with an equal amount of anti-matter. If it had stayed that way, matter and anti-matter should have eventually met and annihilated one to one, leading up to a complete annihilation. But our existence contradicts this theory. To overcome a complete annihilation, the Universe must have turned a small amount of anti-matter into matter creating an imbalance between them. The imbalance needed is only a part in a billion. But it has remained a complete mystery when and how the imbalance was created.

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