Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery could usher in new ice age of astrophysics

Date:
November 21, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Scientists using a particle detector made of ice at the South Pole have found the first indication of high-energy neutrinos that originate outside of the solar system.

Members of the IceCube Collaboration pull cables to connect light sensors deployed in subsurface ice to the IceCube Lab's servers in Dec. 2010. The work was carried out at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Credit: Credit: Freija Descamps, IceCube/NSF

Scientists using a particle detector made of ice at the South Pole have found the first indication of high-energy neutrinos that originate outside of the solar system.

Related Articles


"This is a huge result. It could mark the beginning of neutrino astronomy," said Darren Grant, assistant professor of physics at the University of Alberta, who leads the IceCube Collaboration effort in Canada. The collaboration is led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and involves 250 physicists and engineers from the United States, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and Canada.

Neutrino researchers have been looking to the sky for decades to learn more about the elusive particles. Until now, scientists have seen low-energy neutrinos that originate in Earth's atmosphere, neutrinos from farther out within the solar system, and neutrinos from one rare nearby supernova, known as 1987A.

The neutrinos observed by IceCube are different. "They are at a significantly higher energy level than those produced by the previously measured sources," Grant said. If the observation is confirmed, scientists will have found high-energy neutrinos from yet-to-be confirmed cosmic sources.

Sensors embedded deep in IceCube -- a particle detector made from one cubic kilometre of ice in Antarctica -- were designed to detect extraterrestrial neutrinos. From there, researchers relied on access to the Jasper computer cluster located at the U of A, managed by the WestGrid consortium as part of Compute Canada's national platform of advanced research computing infrastructure. The computational studies to analyze the data often consumed 1,000 CPUs (central processing units) in one day, with a peak use of 1,900 CPUs. In total, the project amassed more than 600,000 CPU hours on WestGrid's cluster.

"We wouldn't have been able to perform these studies without the WestGrid cluster in the time we did it," said Claudio Kopper, one of the Madison post-doctoral fellows who developed the analysis. "When I started, getting over 1,000 cores in parallel on Jasper was not uncommon. Having a fast turnaround time with many available cores turned out to be extremely valuable."

"This is an exciting milestone in neutrino research and we're pleased that Jasper, one of WestGrid's most powerful computing clusters, could support the work that led to this discovery," said Lindsay Sill, interim executive director of WestGrid. "This is an excellent example of how access to high performance computing resources enables scientists to tackle data-intensive research questions and push the boundaries of what we thought was possible."

U of A graduate students helped to prepare this set of data for analysis. "Tania Wood and Sarah Nowicki are working on the calibrations for the detector to better understand how the light produced in the neutrino interactions travels through the glacier," said Grant. Wood and Nowicki are also doing work that will have more central significance to upcoming observations being made at lower energy levels. Three U of A undergraduate students who assisted in the IceCube detector calibrations and data handling are also co-authors of the paper: Stephanie Bohaichuk, Chris Sheramata and Dylan Grandmont.

Grant was recently named co-leader of a potential major upgrade to the IceCube detector called PINGU (Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade).

"We are still learning about the neutrino as one of nature's fundamental particles," said Grant. "It was only 15 years ago that we discovered neutrinos have a small mass, but we have yet to learn which neutrino is heaviest, what we call the hierarchy. This is what we are designing PINGU to provide: a first definitive measurement."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. IceCube Collaboration. Evidence for High-Energy Extraterrestrial Neutrinos at the IceCube Detector. Science, 22 November 2013: Vol. 342 no. 6161 DOI: 10.1126/science.1242856

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Discovery could usher in new ice age of astrophysics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121142301.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2013, November 21). Discovery could usher in new ice age of astrophysics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121142301.htm
University of Alberta. "Discovery could usher in new ice age of astrophysics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121142301.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 29, 2014) A space education journalist is among those who witness and record the explosion of an unmanned Antares rocket seconds after its launch. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) NASA and Orbital Sciences officials say they are investigating the explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station. It blew up moments after liftoff Tuesday evening over the launch site in Virginia. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


The Era of Neutrino Astronomy Has Begun

Nov. 21, 2013 Astrophysicists using a telescope embedded in Antarctic ice have detected the mysterious phenomena known as cosmic neutrinos -- nearly massless particles streaming to Earth at the speed of light from ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins