Researchers at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is a particle detector buried in Antarctic ice, announced they have uncovered 28 electrically neutral subatomic particles that serve as the first evidence that cosmic input from other solar systems likely exists on Earth, according to a news release.
The discovery marks the first indication the high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, are coming from outside our solar system.
Because they rarely interact with matter, neutrinos can carry information about the workings of the highest-energy and most distant phenomena in the universe, according to a news release. Additionally, when found in the far edges of the Milky Way and beyond, they can inform researchers about the origins of high-energy cosmic rays from events such as black holes and supernovas.
The IceCube Laboratory is run by the international IceCube Collaboration, which is headquartered at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was designed to measure the rate of high-energy neutrinos and try to identify their sources.
This announcement comes approximately 25 years after the idea of identifying neutrinos in ice was first conceived. The data was collected at the IceCube lab from May 2010 to May 2012.
“[The IceCube Neutrino Observatory] is in the forefront of the entire field of neutrino astronomy, now delivering observations that have been long-awaited by both theorists and experimentalists," Jim Whitmore, a director at the National Science Foundation said in the release.
Details of the research will also appear in Friday’s issue of Science journal.