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ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    2nd Jun, 2020

In a significant breakthrough, a team of researchers have succeeded in finding  "a fountain of high-energy particles erupting from the ice" in Antarctica which according to the researchers could be proof of a parallel universe. The event was recorded by NASA’s ANITA.

Context

In a significant breakthrough, a team of researchers have succeeded in finding  "a fountain of high-energy particles erupting from the ice" in Antarctica which according to the researchers could be proof of a parallel universe. The event was recorded by NASA’s ANITA.

About

What is ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna or ANITA?

  • Designed by world's premier space agency NASA, the ANITA instrument is a radio telescope which is used to to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos from a scientific balloon flying over Antarctica.
  • ANITA, a stratospheric balloon payload flying over the Antarctic, is the first NASA observatory for neutrinos of any kind.
  • ANITA has made four flights
    • ANITA-I was launched from McMurdo, Antarctica in 2006
    • ANITA-II, a modified instrument with 40 antennas, was launched from McMurdo Station in 2008.
    • ANITA-III, which was equipped with systems to improve sensitivity by a factor of 5–10,was launched in December 2014.
    • ANITA-IV was launched in December 2016 and it was loaded with tunable notch filters and an improved trigger system

The findings:

  • ANITA succeeded in detecting the 'fountain' of high-energy particles in 2006 and 2014 but the researchers initially thought them as background noise or glitches.
  • An array of radio antennas attached to the balloon flew over the frigid continent at an altitude of about 121,000 feet — almost four times as high as a commercial flight — and detected high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, which constantly bombard our planet.
  • Low-energy, subatomic neutrinos can pass completely through Earth, but higher-energy objects are stopped by solid matter, which means that the high-energy particles can only be detected coming “down” from space.
  • But the team’s ANITA detected heavier particles, so-called tau neutrinos, which come “up” out of the Earth, implying that these particles are actually traveling backward in time, suggesting evidence of a parallel universe.

What are neutrinos?

  • Neutrinos are high-energy particles that pose no threat to us and pass through most solid objects without anyone even noticing.
  • Neutrinos constantly bombard Earth and as per some estimates emerging from studies, 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second! 
  • Rarely do they interact with matter. But if they do smash into an atom, they produce a shower of secondary particles we can detect, which allows us to probe where they came from in the universe.
  • ANITA detects neutrinos pinging in from space and colliding with matter in the Antarctic ice sheet.
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