Neutrinos put cosmic ray theory on ice

Neutrinos put cosmic ray theory on ice
The IceCube neutrino telescope in Antarctica. Photo: NSF/Lidstrom

( -- A telescope buried beneath the South Pole has failed to find any neutrinos accompanying exploding fireballs in space, undermining a leading theory of how cosmic rays are born.

IceCube, a detector made up of 5,160 embedded up to 2.5km deep in the , searched for evidence of neutrinos emitted from 300 fireballs, known as gamma ray bursts, observed between May 2008 and April 2010.

In Nature the team behind the experiments report that the search did not find a single neutrino, a result that challenges the idea that cosmic rays originate from gamma ray bursts (GRBs).

Cosmic rays are electrically charged particles, such as protons, that strike Earth from all directions, with energies up to one hundred million times higher than those created in manmade . Understanding their origins would provide crucial insights into the most energetic phenomena in the Universe.

Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, who leads the UK involvement in IceCube, said: ‘Although this is a negative result it illustrates that cosmic neutrino detection has come of age – IceCube has achieved the necessary sensitivity to neutrino fluxes expected from likely sources of cosmic rays. It should not be long now before we find the real sources.’

The finding is likely to focus attention on the other prime candidate for creating cosmic rays: the massive black holes found at the centre of active galaxies.

‘The result of this neutrino search is significant because for the first time we have an instrument with sufficient sensitivity to open a new window on cosmic ray production and the interior processes of GRBs,’ said IceCube spokesperson and University of Maryland physics professor Greg Sullivan. ‘The unexpected absence of neutrinos from GRBs has forced a reevaluation of the theory for production of cosmic rays and in a GRB fireball and possibly the theory that high energy cosmic rays are generated in fireballs.’

‘Although we have not discovered where come from, we have taken a major step towards ruling out one of the leading predictions,’ said IceCube principal investigator, and University of Wisconsin - Madison physics professor, Francis Halzen.

Explore further

New map of cosmic rays in the Southern sky presented at physics meeting

More information: Nature 484, 351–354 (19 April 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11068
Journal information: Nature

Provided by Oxford University
Citation: Neutrinos put cosmic ray theory on ice (2012, April 20) retrieved 22 August 2019 from
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Apr 20, 2012
The Plasma Cosmology camp is now pointing out the fact that they told us so!

Apr 20, 2012
Plasma cosmology has nothing to say about it, in logical way the less.

Apr 20, 2012
Guys, where does this animosity come from? It doesn't appear that either of you are actually thinking about what's being claimed.

Cosmic rays are charged particles. The Electric Universe theorists suggest -- rather uncontroversially, really -- that the best way to accelerate charged particles to enormous velocities is with an electric field. Even if the field is weak, so long as it is large, then these enormous velocities can be reproduced without the need for explosions.

Now, please tell me what about this demands so much derision amongst conventional thinkers? Cosmic plasma models are theoretical constructs which demand questioning. When we ostracize people for critically thinking about these models, we substitute bullying and social forces for logic, reason and philosophy.

Ostracism is in fact the most powerful force in the physics discipline.

Apr 20, 2012
There are many protons in the cosmic space, but just few of them are getting accelerated to high energies. If plasma cosmology would be correct, all particles would get accelerated in the same way.

Apr 20, 2012
Re: "There are many protons in the cosmic space, but just few of them are getting accelerated to high energies. If plasma cosmology would be correct, all particles would get accelerated in the same way."

Um, not quite. What you're doing is applying what you've learned of the conventional theories to plasma cosmology. This usually does not work.

In the laboratory, plasmas exhibit double layers, which can separate plasmas of differing densities. The ionosphere is an example. Think carefully about that: To violate quasi-neutrality, all we needed to do was go to the ionosphere - the closest cosmic structure.

Eventually, one of these days, people will come to realize that the mysteries of the universe can be solved quite simply by applying laboratory plasma physics fundamentals to our observations of space. But, for the time being, people are refusing to learn what plasmas do in the laboratory.

This is more psychology and sociology than science.

Apr 21, 2012
waves change their frequencies by colliding with other energy during their travel. These waves, because of the encountered interference, continue to transform part of their original energy in other forms. Waves travel gradually releasing heat, or amounts of energy, and their original short wavelengths become longer and longer as they carry less and less energy than they did when they first started to travel. These waves lose energy releasing it in form of other waves with wavelengths longer than their own.

For example, the gamma rays, over time, diminish their energy level (and their frequency) to become X rays, from X rays they will become ultraviolet and so on. The original quantum is not lost but distributed into other forms of energy through "spontaneous symmetry breaking".

Once reached an almost flat longitude (and lower critical energy level) these waves solidify into hydrogen atoms breaking up their energy like the split ends of a broken hair.

Apr 21, 2012
Re: "What the EU group does is point out the problems with the currently accepted mainstream theories without really taking a hard look at the problems with the EU model in its entirety.

The plasma physics fundamentals do not answer everything and you should honestly accept that. Not just keep pointing out the errors in current thinking. "

There are certainly things left to figure out. I won't argue with that. What badly needs to be conveyed is the amount of progress which can be made in cosmology and astrophysics with the plasma-oriented view of space. And I apologize if I've somehow distracted the conversation from that important point.

But, honestly, the EU model is self-consistent. It is a solid *conceptual* foundation which does not look to mathematics to make up for its uncertainties. Cosmology is inherently uncertain, due to the problems of observing the smallest and largest scales. That will never go away.

Apr 21, 2012
But, when it comes to the questions which matter, plasma-based cosmologies are a quantum leap forward from where we're at right now ...

- Origin of life in the universe
- Origin of magnetic fields
- Stellar birth
- Galactic rotation curves
- Tremendous observed velocities
- Heliosphere
- Comets
- Enigmatic planetary features
- Human history
- Origin of intelligence
- Monolithic structures
- Dinosaurs and their destruction
- Evolutionary explosions in the fossil record
- Filamentary and cellular structure for the large-scale universe
- Solar system's planetary stability

Every single one of these topics benefits from a plasma-based worldview. And there are many, many more.

The EU is in the early phases of communications right now. Within just a couple of years, we'll see more videos appearing which demonstrate these points in a format which the public is more accustomed to. These things CANNOT be explained properly with text. You need After Effects, Maya, 3DSMax, etc ...

Apr 21, 2012
The thing is, progress on these points can (and likely will) lead to additional progress in other domains as well. Fixing the most glaring errors in science can lead to a domino effect. Similarly, Gerald Pollack's fixes for cell biology will revolutionize medicine.

But, adjusting worldviews is a very challenging process. If the process is not formalized using an approach which integrates video and a concept map-based structure, the process of learning the new worldview can take too long. It took me 6 years to get up to speed on it. This is far too long. This time has to be dramatically reduced.

David Talbott has tried many times to condense his own 40 years of research into hour-long chunks, and he still struggles with this. But, make no mistake about it: Both David Talbott and Wal Thornhill are in fact top-notch speakers. What we are waiting for right now is that collection of videos which inspires the public to become interested in what's already out there.

Apr 22, 2012
It is a good step that this finding will cause a refocus on the central galactic core star as the origin of high energy cosmic rays. Together with the finding that high energy gamma rays are surprisingly from diffuse sources, should further support LaViolette's superwave theory.


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