Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard describes how NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has changed the course of space exploration by tracking down the origin of a high-energy particle, known as a neutrino, for the very first time.
Neutrinos are also called ghost particles because they normally pass through matter completely undetected at just under the speed of light.
Last September, a neutrino struck Antarctic ice with such force that it produced a traceable particle called a muon. The activity was detected by a network of sensors underneath the ice known as IceCube, which identified the trajectory of the neutrino and alerted experts at other observatories to look for its source.
Fermi traced the ghost particle back to heightened activity in a galaxy 3.7 billion light years away – blazar TXS 0506+056.
Detecting neutrinos, which are some of the most abundant substances on the planet, will provide scientists with a brand new way to explore outer space.
Video Credit: NASA Goddard