Most powerful intergalactic neutrinos ever detected

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by YellowSubmarine, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 17, 2010
    Breaking news: Today The Bad Astronomer posted his first article ever with a sensationalist title. Neutrinos are on their way to board and plunder the Earth.

    Ultra-high-energy neutrinos detected, almost certainly coming from another galaxy

    The neutrinos had about 1 PeV of energy, which is quite a lot for a subatomic particle, and gargantuan for a neutrino, as Phil Plait put it:
    Obviously, very energetic particles are not unprecedented, the Oh My God particle from 1991, for example, was 300000 PeV, but for a neutrino even 1 PeV is huge. This particle was travelling unbelievably close to the speed of light, and depending on what neutrino masses actually are, it could be outrunning Oh My God by a huge margin. (Comparison of potential speeds)

    I am not sure how unlikely this event is, actually. On one hand, neutrinos are much more difficult to detect, which makes it damn unlikely to pick particles like this, on the other hand neutrinos have almost no interaction with other particles during their interstellar trip, which could allow them to retain their speed and therefore there could be more of them.

    Still, if memory serves me right, the other ultra-high-energy particles that we've detected were from our galaxy (correct me if I am wrong), and this one is actually from another galaxy (99% certain). :wtf:

    Strangely, this made me more hopeful for intergalactic communication. I don't know what most of this means, and even worse, the particles are coming from a supermassive black hole, one a civilization will never match the energy of, but then the sheer chance of picking a stray neutrino (of all particles) from another galaxy passing right through the Earth with that kind of energy is so unlikely, that my hopes of two civilizations reaching each other suddenly grew a tiny bit. :)