High-energy neutrinos are interesting subatomic particles generated when very fast charged particles collide with photons or other particles. IceCube, a prominent neutrino detector located at the South Pole, has been observing high-energy extragalactic neutrinos for nearly a decade.
Researchers at Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, and some other academic institutes in Europe and the U.S. have lately focused on research on a specific violent cosmological incident, which is known as AT2019fdr. Their report, published in Physical Review Letters, demonstrates that this event could be the origin of a high-energy neutrino.
“Our team has been conducting a systematic study for three 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,” said Simeon Reusch, one of the researchers who carried out the study. “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 analyzed by Reusch and his colleagues, is a temporary event, which implies that it alters over time. The researchers examined this event in great detail, aiming to deduce its possible source.
Based on their calculations, they inferred that AT2019fdr was most likely a tidal disruption event (TDE). TDEs occur when a star moves toward the supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy and is sufficiently close to be affected by it.