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VERITAS supplies critical piece to neutrino discovery puzzle
by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Science Daily Translate This Article
12 July 2018
On 12 July 2018 Science Daily reported:
The VERITAS array has confirmed the detection of gamma rays from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole. While these detections are relatively common for VERITAS, this black hole is potentially the first known astrophysical source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, a type of ghostly subatomic particle.
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On September 22, 2017 the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a cubic-kilometer neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, detected a high-energy neutrino of potential astrophysical origin. However, the observation of a single neutrino by itself is not enough for IceCube to claim the detection of a source. For that, scientists needed more information.
Very quickly after the detection by IceCube was announced, telescopes around the world including VERITAS (which stands for the 'Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System') swung into action to identify the source. The VERITAS, MAGIC, and H.E.S.S. gamma-ray observatories all looked at the neutrino position. In addition, two gamma-ray observatories that monitor much of the sky at lower and higher energies also provided coverage.
These follow-up observations of the rough IceCube neutrino position suggest that the source of the neutrino is a blazar, which is a supermassive black hole with powerful outflowing jets that can change dramatically in brightness over time. This blazar, known as TXS 0506 056, is located at the center of a galaxy about 4 billion light years from Earth.
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