Study identifies a tidal disruption event that coincides with the production of a high-energy neutrino

Study identifies a tidal disruption event that coincides with the production of a high-energy neutrino

Study identifies a tidal disruption event that coincides with the production of a high-energy neutrino

High-energy neutrinos are highly fascinating subatomic particles produced when very fast charged particles collide with other particles or photons. IceCube, a renowned neutrino detector located at the South Pole, has been detecting extragalactic high-energy neutrinos for almost a decade.

While many physicists have examined the observations gathered by the IceCube detector, the origin of most of the high-energy neutrinos it detected has not yet been determined. These neutrinos were detected beyond our galaxy and could result from various cosmological events.

Researchers at Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and other academic institutes in Europe and the U.S. have recently carried out a study focusing on a specific violent cosmological event, which is referred to as AT2019fdr. Their paper, published in Physical Review Letters, shows that this event could be the origin of a high-energy neutrino.

“Our team has been conducting a systematic study for 3 years, where we used the optical survey telescope of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) to scan the sky region of each new high-energy neutrino that we can observe,” Simeon Reusch, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Phys.org. “Our recent paper examines a possible source for one of these neutrinos, a huge optical outburst in a very distant galaxy, which has been called AT2019fdr.”

AT2019fdr, the optical outburst examined by Reusch and his colleagues, is a transient event, which means that it changes over time. The researchers studied this event in great depth, trying to determine its possible source.

Based on their analyses, they concluded that AT2019fdr was most likely a tidal disruption event (TDE). TDEs occur when a star approaches the supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy and is close enough to be affected by it.

“As the star approaches the black hole, the gravitational pull in front of the star is much stronger than at its back, ripping the star apart,” Reusch explained. “Around half of the mass of the star is then accreted around the black hole, causing the debris to shine brightly for months.”

Reusch and his colleagues also tried to determine whether AT2019fdr could be the possible origin of the high-energy neutrino they observed. To do this, they teamed up with theoretical physicists who could model the source and make theoretical predictions based on their models.

Source: phys.org

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Study identifies a tidal disruption event that coincides with the production of a high-energy neutrino

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