The poles of the earth are formidable, exceedingly cold, and mysterious in many ways, rather like outer space. Most imagine the similarities between the two stop there, but interestingly they share something else in common: neutrinos.
Similar to electrons, except lacking the electrical charge and having a smaller mass, neutrinos are subatomic particles that partially compose cosmic rays, and they have now been detected deep under the icy surface of Antarctica. The world's largest neutrino detector, an arrangement of sensors, lies here and recently found some of the only direct samples we have from outside our galaxy. Since 2017, astrophysicists across the globe have been using this discovery to learn about the galaxy and to answer the hundred-year-old question, where do cosmic rays come from?
What are the consequences of this discovery? What do you think the impact will be upon science and astrophysics generally? Join the discussion on Vialogues.
Excerpts from the discussion
@03:05 Rebecca Sullivan: It's interesting that this discovery involved different people and locations. The rays were detected in the South Pole, but the source was perceived from the Canary Islands. Investigations of such magnitude might have to be global affairs, if we hope to learn more about intergalactic occurrences.
@03:05 RuthS: Space exploration and study has been written off in recent years as not worth our time. But there is so much we can learn, and discoveries like this showcase how a lot, although obviously not all, of our exploration of the universe can take place from earth.