New evidence suggests particles detected in Antarctica don't fit Standard Model

October 1, 2018 by Bob Yirka, report
The ANITA-IV experiment in Antarctica, prior to being launched on a balloon. Credit: Drummermean/CC BY-SA 4.0

A team of researchers at Penn State University has found new evidence that suggests some particles detected in Antarctica do not fit the Standard Model. They have written a paper outlining their arguments and have posted it on the arXiv preprint server.

Prior research has shown that when low energy cosmic encounter the Earth, they are likely to pass right on through—high energy particles, on the other hand, are almost certain to run into something else, preventing them from passing through in one piece. Instead, they cause an avalanche of collisions, creating a shower of particles that eventually emerge on the other side of the planet. But what if a high-energy particle were to make it all the way through without creating a particle shower? That would mean there likely exists a particle that is not described by the Standard Model—and that is exactly what researchers studying particles detected over Antarctica are reporting.

To date, two odd particle events have been detected by a sensor attached to a high-altitude balloon hovering over Antarctica as part of a project called the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)—the first detection was back in 2006, the second in 2014. Both indicated that a high-energy particle had somehow made its way through the planet without encountering anything. The first detection was attributed to equipment problems or some other unknown factor. The second caused more concern—but not enough for anyone to seriously consider challenging the Standard Model. In this new effort, the researchers report that they have found other evidence of the same type of particle, suggesting the two anomalies might truly represent unknown particles.

The new evidence came in the form of sensor data from the IceCube experiment in which buried in the Antarctic ice continually detect particle events. Data from the sensors showed that three events with unexplained properties had occurred. The researchers suggest the two unconnected sources of data indicate that it is time to start asking whether the anomalies hint at the possibility of particles beyond the Standard Model.

Explore further: Hunting for dark quarks

More information: The ANITA Anomalous Events as Signatures of a Beyond Standard Model Particle, and Supporting Observations from IceCube, arXiv:1809.09615 [astro-ph.HE]

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4.2 / 5 (12) Oct 01, 2018
These observations suffer from rare statistics of course, and tying them together is model dependent.

But both the observations and the SUSY "standard" model are exciting, so this deserves to be kept in mind IMO while waiting for more data.
5 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2018
I read about this elsewhere last week and it is indeed interesting. However, as a layman, I sometimes find that the trail 'goes dead' and I hear nothing more. So I hope those closer to the events keep the info coming.
1 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2018
4.4 / 5 (7) Oct 01, 2018
As torbjorn points out, this is just as likely to be a failure of math as an actual anomaly. Still, I don't think anybody believes the Standard Model is comprehensive so I'd be excited to see anything that expands our knowledge beyond it.
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2018
A failure of math? lee, you've got to be joking. Math is the superlative gift to science. It is the Standard Model of the Standard Model.
But really, a new particle might explain a few things and would have to be given a name quickly - outside of the LHC.
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2018
Reminds me of the faster then light neutrino's which turned out to be a loose cable.
not rated yet Oct 02, 2018
This makes me wonder if the Universe's particle generators can be used to test String theory.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2018
Here's an update that may, eventually help clarify the confusion.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2018
Reminds me of the faster then light neutrino's which turned out to be a loose cable.

Or CSIRO's quest for the mysterious Peryton emissions that turned out to be emitted by their microwaves if they opened the door before ending the cooking cycle.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2018
...ya know, there was a collision of two neutron stars last year?.. #kilonova
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2018
warp signature?
not rated yet Oct 05, 2018
The Russians reported the same thing more than 10 years ago. Cascades of particles rising up through the Earth. I think they had more statistics.

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