Skip To Content

    An Antarctic Lab Has Found The Highest Energy Neutrinos Ever Observed

    And called them Bert and Ernie. Of course.

    The IceCube laboratory in Antarctica has detected its first high-energy burst of sub-atomic particles called neutrinos.

    Keith Vanderlinde, IceCube/NSF

    They came from outside the solar system and have energies millions of times higher than the only other known example of extra-terrestrial neutrinos, which scientists detected in 1987.

    This is the signature from Ernie, the highest energy neutrino ever detected on Earth.

    IceCube Collaboration

    And this is Bert, the second highest energy one.

    IceCube Collaboration

    Bert and Ernie were spotted in April 2012. Now 26 additional events have also been observed, and most seem to be coming from further afield than the Milky Way.

    IceCube has over 5000 detectors hanging from 87 steel cables 1.5km under the Antarctic ice.

    Artist's impression of IceCube / Jamie Yang, The IceCube Collaboration.

    Now they know what they're looking for, IceCube scientists are going to hunt for more of the particles. The discovery could open up a whole new subfield. “Perhaps, we are currently experiencing the birth of neutrino astronomy,” says astronomer Marcus Ackermann.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form