List of Contents
Source: The post is based on the article “Uniting for big-bang discoveries” published in “Business Standard” on 1st July 2023.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and Technology
News: In recent developments in physics, two major announcements were made by different research groups.
Gravitational wave researchers using pulsars revealed the discovery of gravitational signals that potentially date back to the Big Bang. In the second discovery, scientists have created a picture of the Milky Way by mapping the origins of detected neutrinos.
What is the significance of these discoveries?
The latest discovery about gravitational waves could help us understand the violent processes of black holes and galactic mergers, and how the Big Bang occurred.
Researchers studying neutrinos generated a picture of the Milky Way galaxy as “seen” by neutrinos
The technologies developed for these observations hold the potential for future commercial applications.
Both breakthroughs resulted from the efforts of large groups spanning multiple research institutions and nations which serve as a remarkable example of international cooperation.
Why is it difficult to detect gravitational waves and neutrinos?
Gravitational waves are created by the Big Bang and black holes. These are very long and weak waves that require highly sensitive equipment for detection.
Neutrinos can only be detected through the energy they carry, necessitating extreme sensitivity in detection methods.
How gravitational waves are detected?
The first detection of gravity waves came from the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory), in 2015.
LIGO can only pick up signals from gravitational waves around 3,200 km long, whereas super massive black holes emit gravity waves of far longer wavelengths which can be detected by using pulsars as natural detectors.
How are neutrinos detected?
The most sensitive neutrino detection facility, IceCube, is located at the South Pole. It utilizes light sensors buried 2.5 km under the ice, where it is completely dark.
When a neutrino passes through, it interacts with the ice, emitting energy that generates a distinctive blue radiation called Cherenkov Radiation.
As neutrinos do not interact or deviate from their path, the energy trail can be used to determine their origin.