What is a ghost particle? Let’s understand what actually it is.
Ghost particles are elementary particles with almost no charge. These are also known as neutrinos having neutral electric charges. Lack of charge and mass makes them less interactive with their surroundings. Ghosts particles took almost 2 decades to be detected successfully after it was first postulated.
Does it mean ghost particles are extremely rare?
Well, the answer is a big NO. Ghost particles are present all around us. Our bodies are exposed to trillions of ghost particles every instant.
But how is it possible?
Although some of these come from Sun, it is predicted that other high-energy neutrinos come from deep space. The path of neutrinos across the universe follows a direct line. The path of the cosmic rays interact with magnetic fields with an erratic path although they follow a close connection with cosmic rays. The detector at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station in the Antarctic is designed to detect and study ghost particles. The IceCube sensors comprises of digital optical modules placed up to 2450 meters into the ground connected through strings.
After deployment, 2 staff members monitor the equipment for detection of the elusive particles. Neutrinos create a secondary charged particle after collision with an atom. One such interaction was detected and dubbed IceCube 170922A. An alert was sent out to several observatories to detect the place of origin of the particles. 18 observatories(including the major atmospheric gamma imaging Cherenkov telescope and NASA’s Fermi gamma-ray Space Telescope) collected data and measured the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays. The source of the ghost particles was concluded to be a blazer known TXSO5O6 + O56.
Blazers are large galactic nuclei emitting powerful beams of gamma rays and irregular beams of electromagnetic radiation from outside the galaxy.
This discovery may prove beneficial in understanding the working of the universe.