Rare cosmic neutrino traced to star-shredding black hole


Neutrinos are everywhere, streaming through your body by the trillions every second. But the chargeless, nearly massless particles are notoriously hard to pin down, especially the rare high-energy ones from deep space. Only about a dozen cosmic neutrinos are detected annually, and only one had been linked to a source in the sky. Now, IceCube, a kilometer-wide neutrino detector nestled deep beneath the South Pole, has traced another one to its birthplace: a supermassive black hole tearing a star to pieces in a galaxy 750 million light-years away. The discovery suggests these rare tidal disruption events could be a major source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays—other deep-space visitors whose origins have also been a mystery.

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