First image of the depths of a galaxy

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First image of the depths of a galaxy

IceCube neutrinos give us the first image of the depths of an active galaxy. They allow us to get a little closer to the answer to the eternal question of the origin of cosmic rays.

For the first time, an international team of scientists - including the IIIHE, Faculty of Science - has found evidence of high-energy neutrino emission in the galaxy NGC 1068.

Also known as Messier 77, it is one of the best known and studied galaxies to date, active in the constellation Cetus. First identified in 1780, this galaxy, located 47 million light years away, can be observed with large binoculars.

The detection was made by the National Science Foundation-supported IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a giant neutrino telescope consisting of a billion tons of instrumented ice at depths of 1.5 to 2.5 kilometers below the surface of Antarctica near the South Pole.

With the neutrino measurements of NGC 1068, IceCube is one step closer to answering the age-old question of the origin of cosmic rays. These results also imply that there may be many other similar objects in the Universe that have not yet been identified.With the neutrino measurements of NGC 1068, IceCube gets one step closer to answering the age-old question of the origin of cosmic rays. These results also imply that there may be many other similar objects in the Universe that have not yet been identified.

ULB participates in the IceCube experiment through the IIHE group of the Faculty of Science, under the supervision of Juan Antonio Aguilar. Some members of the group have already worked on the search for point sources in the past, using parts of the IceCube detector when it was still under construction. The discovery of NGC1068 was possible thanks to the improvement of these techniques and, in part, to a careful upgrade of the detector’s calibration, thanks to the work of the teams responsible for the operation and calibration of the detector.

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