back to top

We’ve updated our privacy notice and cookie policy. Learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, and find out how we collect your personal data and what we use it for.

An Antarctic Lab Has Found The Highest Energy Neutrinos Ever Observed

And called them Bert and Ernie. Of course.

Posted on

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.

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.