(TMU) — Simply over ten years in the past, NASA-affiliated researchers got down to observe cosmic rays showering down on Earth from above. Throughout the experiments in Antarctica, physicists discovered one thing unexplainable, one thing that would change every little thing we expect we learn about physics.
The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) balloon experiment started in 2006 when the balloon spent a month hovering over Antarctica’s ice. Utilizing sensors, ANITA started detecting excessive vitality neutrinos interacting with the ice sheet beneath.
Neutrinos are distinctive in that they don’t lose vitality as they disseminate all through the universe. Due to this, neutrinos are able to offering people with a peek into the huge expanse of the universe that may in any other case be unavailable.
According to Motherboard, the Soviet physicist Gurgen Askaryan as soon as theorized that “when a excessive vitality particle interacted with a dense dielectric medium—a kind of insulating materials that doesn’t conduct electrical energy—it will produce a bathe of secondary charged particles whose radiation could be detected by normal radio antennas. This interplay, now often called the Askaryan impact, permits physicists to detect particles that hardly work together with regular matter (like neutrinos) by observing their secondary results.”
Throughout ANITA’s time within the Antarctic, it detected by no means earlier than seen “upward-pointing cosmic-ray-like occasions.” The rays detected had horizontal planes of polarization, which can recommend they didn’t originate in house. The detection of those occasions means a brand new kind of particle might have been evading detection by subtle particle accelerators since we started utilizing subtle particle accelerators.
Due to the Customary Mannequin, physicists have identified that cosmic rays are able to reaching and penetrating Earth. Nevertheless, in response to the mannequin, these rays shouldn’t be capable to go all over our planet. So are the anomalous excessive vitality particles measured by ANITA originating from Earth, or are they really passing by way of it?
Some present physics fashions that exist past the Customary Mannequin contain theories that the interactions between cosmic rays and ice truly produce micro black holes that open into small dimensions. ANITA’s first mission didn’t detect the black holes, nevertheless it did detect the Askaryan impact.
Final week, a bunch of researchers posted a brand new idea concerning the rays measured by ANITA. The group, led by Pennsylvania State College physicist Derek Fox, suggests ANITA might have discovered proof of a particle that lies utterly exterior of the Customary Mannequin of physics.
The Customary Mannequin has been profitable so long as we’ve been utilizing it, nevertheless it hasn’t been in a position to clarify every little thing. For instance, issues like gravity and the accelerating growth of the universe will not be adequately defined by the mannequin. That’s the place the physics beyond the Customary Mannequin (BSM). A few of these theories embrace string idea and additional dimensions.
Fox’s idea depends on a kind of BSM known as supersymmetry. “We argue that if the ANITA occasions are appropriately interpreted then they require some past the Customary Mannequin particle,” Fox instructed Motherboard. “The doubtless properties of the particle appear constant in at the very least some methods with the anticipated properties of the stau in some supersymmetric fashions.”
With a purpose to delve additional into the unknown relating to these upward-pointing cosmic rays, they need to even be noticed at different areas. Fox and his colleagues took step one when analyzing information from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory within the Arctic. Regardless of the distinction in detection techniques, three occasions had been recognized within the information that had been analogous to the cosmic rays noticed by ANITA in Antarctica.
Fox’s idea is just one interpretation of the ANITA information. The fourth ANITA mission was launched in 2016 and researchers are hopeful that its information, as soon as utterly analyzed, will reveal extra examples of those uncommon cosmic rays.