Since cosmic rays were discovered in 1912, scientists have sought the origins of these mysterious particles. In September 2017, a flash of blue light in the ice deep beneath the South Pole set researchers on a path to resolving this century-old riddle.
In an effort to fill in the blanks of the Standard Model of particle physics, science has been conducting a diligent search for a hypothesized particle known as the “sterile neutrino.” Now, with the latest results from an icy particle detector at the South Pole, scientists are almost certain that there is no such particle.
Sorting through the billions of subatomic particles that zip through its frozen cubic-kilometer-sized detector each year, researchers using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory have gathered powerful new evidence in support of 2013 observations confirming the existence of cosmic neutrinos.
Today, nearly 25 years after the pioneering idea of detecting neutrinos in ice, the IceCube Collaboration announces the observation of 28 very high-energy particle events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators. Details of this research will be published tomorrow, November 22, in Science.