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Space

Reveals the origin of ghost particles crashing into Earth

The high-energy neutrino “cosmic bullets” that hit Earth in 2019 may have come from the black hole tearing the star apart.

Neutrinos are called “ghost particles” because they have no electric charge and have a much smaller mass than other known atomic particles. While charged particles are subjected to the impact of a magnetic field, neutrinos can travel through the universe in a straight line without obstruction.

On October 1, 2019, billions of high-energy neutrinos traveling at speeds close to the speed of light suddenly crashed into Earth. They pass through human bodies without our knowledge. One of them ended its journey deep below the planet’s surface after colliding with ice molecules. Fortunately, this is happening right next to an extremely sensitive detector set up under Antarctica.

The discovery of the mysterious neutrino sparked an intergalactic search for answers to the question: “What brought them down on Earth?”

Using data from the Zwicky Sky Survey Facility at Palomar Observatory in California, USA, astronomers from the German Research Institute DESY recently reported that these “space balls” could catch a starry black hole, also known known as Tidal Force Disturbance (TDE). Event.

Specifically, in April 2019, six months before the discovery of ghost particles in Antarctica, astronomers from Zwicky discovered a giant halo around a supermassive black hole 700 million light years away. The black hole, estimated to be 30 million times heavier than the Sun, attracted a nearby star and tore it apart with extreme force.

The team hypothesizes that TDE threw about half of the star’s material into space, while the other half is sucked into an accretion disk made up of gas, dust and debris in orbit around the black hole. Due to the impact of energy in the accretion disk, giant plasma rays are projected out of the system. These rays can last for hundreds of days in space and play an important role in the process of neutrino particle formation afterwards.

“The neutrino appeared relatively late, about six months after the black hole that tore the stars apart. TDE acts as a natural particle accelerator, producing high-energy neutrinos and pushing some towards Earth,” said the DESY theoretical astrophysicist Walter Winter.

The discovery of neutrinos linked to TDE is a breakthrough, opening up new avenues for exploring the universe. For example, astronomers can trace the origin of ghost particles to detect new systems of black holes and accretion discs.

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