It’s set to be a huge week for space and physics news, as two major press conferences about the universe have been announced on Thursday, June 29.
They may share a history, but they are both very separate announcements and, what we can tell, very special finds that will be shared with the public.
Let’s dive in and see what we know so far.
The discovery of gravitational waves
Updated June 29, 2023: This has been announced, and it’s official! Scientists have discovered the background hum of the universe. Read more here.
Mark your calendars and get ready for an important announcement from the NANOGrav collaboration on June 29! #Nugraph
– NANOGrav PFC (NANOGrav) June 21, 2023
Detecting this background buzz is huge because it could revolutionize our understanding of the early days of the universe.
For example, electromagnetic radiation does not provide a picture of the universe any earlier than the time of the last scattering (about 400,000 years after the Big Bang). However, gravitational waves can give us information about the onset of inflation, only 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang,” theoretical physicist Susan Scott of the Australian National University and ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Detection told Michelle Starr, senior journalist at ScienceAlert, last January.
Singing out that faint background hum from all the other “sounds” in the universe was very difficult. But scientists have been able to do just that using pulsar timing arrays.
Pulsars are a type of neutron star, the remnants of massive stars that died in a spectacular supernova, leaving behind only a dense core.
These spinning stars act like cosmic beacons, their beams of radio radiation sweeping across the Earth at precise intervals.
Ripples of gravitational waves should, in theory, produce small anomalies in the timing of these pulsars.
One pulsar wouldn’t signify much on its own, but a large number of pulsars all show similar inconsistencies that could represent the kind of gravitational waves we’d expect to see generated by black hole mergers in the early universe, Michele Starr said. to explain.
While researchers hold off on claiming to have detected gravitational waves yet, they have a very promising signature, and more data should reveal a clearer picture.
The discovery of the neutrino
Update June 29, 2023: The second ad in! We have officially detected high-energy neutrinos that come from below our galaxy.
They gave us the first neutrino map of the galactic plane and also hinted at the origin of the mysterious cosmic rays.
Discovered by IceCube Neutrino Observatory Built deep in the Antarctic ice.
This particle detector searches for neutrinos; Subatomic particles that are incredibly difficult to detect due to the lack of charge and mass that do not actually exist.
This ghost-like ability to pass through our universe en masse and unnoticed has earned neutrinos the nickname “ghost particles.” It also makes them ideal subjects for studying distant cosmic events as their trajectory and properties remain relatively unchanged by their surroundings as they fly through space.
Neutrinos are emitted as part of the beta decay process that converts neutrons into protons – making it one of the most abundant subatomic particles in the universe, with Tens of billions Hit your nails every second without you even noticing.
We have previously detected neutrinos from distant quasarsAnd particle collisionsand even Our sun. They’re even candidates for the mysterious substance known as dark matter.
You can re-watch the ad here.
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