High-energy neutrinos are very cool subatomic particles that are produced when very fast charged particles collide with other particles or photons. IceCube, a popular Antarctic neutrino detector, has been detecting high-energy neutrinos outside of the galaxy for nearly a decade.
While many physicists have examined the observations collected by the IceCube detector, the origin of most of the high-energy neutrinos it has detected has not yet been determined. These neutrinos have been detected outside our galaxy and can be caused by various cosmic events.
Researchers at Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and other academic institutes in Europe and the United States recently conducted a study focusing on a specific violent cosmic event, referred to as AT2019fdr. Their paper was published in physical review messagesshows that this event could be the origin of a high-energy neutrino.
“Our team conducted a systematic 3-year study, in which we used the Zwicky Transit Facility (ZTF) Scanning Telescope to scan the region of the sky for every new high-energy neutrino we can observe,” Simeon Riosch, one of the researchers who conducted the study, told Phys.org. “Our recent research examines a possible source for one of these neutrinos, a massive optical explosion in a very distant galaxy, which has been named AT2019fdr.”
AT2019fdr, the optical eruption that Reusch and colleagues examined, is a transient event, meaning that it changes over time. Researchers have studied this event in great depth, trying to determine its possible source.
Based on their analyzes, they concluded that AT2019fdr was most likely a tidal disturbance event (TDE). TDEs occur when a star approaches giant black hole It is at the center of a galaxy and is close enough to be affected.
When a star approaches a black hole, it gravity pull Ryosh explained that in front of the star is much stronger than behind it, tearing the star apart. “Then about half of the star’s mass accumulates around the black hole, causing the debris to shine brightly for several months.”
Reusch and colleagues also attempted to determine if AT2019fdr could be the possible origin of the high-energy neutrino they observed. To do this, they collaborated with Theoretical physicists Who can model the source and make theoretical predictions based on their models.
“We tried to collect as much electromagnetic data as possible on the AT2019fdr, across a wide range of wavelengths,” Reusch said. “We observed the site and collected pre-existing data for it in radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays.”
In their analysis, the researchers evaluated both the AT2019fdr event and other potential sources of the high-energy neutrino they observed, all of which were in reasonable proximity. Interestingly, they excluded all sources except AT2019fdr, due to light curve (eg, the brightness profile over time) or due to the optical spectra they took.
“The strong dust echoes that we detected are in the infrared range, and associate AT2019fdr with a subclass of dust resonance sources in the center of galaxies,” Reusch said. The actual “echo” is produced when the intense radiation from TDE heats the surrounding dust, which then begins to glow in the infrared range. The massive size of the system causes time delays due to light transmission times, which is why the peak of the dust echo is delayed with respect to the glare.”
Reusch and colleagues also observed the delayed X-ray signal with eROSITA aboard the SRG satellite, with a very soft spectrum. Overall, both their measurements and theoretical analyzes indicate that AT2019fdr is the source of the high-energy neutrino they observed. Additionally, the team’s results indicate that AT2019fdr is a TDE and not an ultra-luminous supernova, a “regular” glow emanating from the galactic center, or another type of cosmic event.
“Our findings are noteworthy, as previous paper By our group, TDE (AT2019fdr) has already been identified as a potential source of another high-energy neutrino. high energy neutrinos. Multi-message studies such as the one presented in our paper provide insight into cosmic particle accelerators such as TDEs or AGNs that cannot rely on photons alone. “
In their next studies, the researchers will perform further analyzes to validate their findings. In addition, they plan to search for other TDEs within the large cosmic event data set that the ZTF has collected so far.
Simeon Reusch et al, A candidate AT2019fdr tidal perturbation event simultaneous with a high-energy neutrino, physical review messages (2022). DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.128.221101
Robert Stein et al, A tidal perturbation event coinciding with a high-energy neutrino, natural astronomy (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41550-020-01295-8
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