Watch Astrophysics Breakthrough Announcement

first_imgStay on target Tune in tomorrow as a team of international astrophysicists unveil a “breakthrough” discovery.The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is hosting a press conference to announce recent “multi-messenger astrophysics findings,” led by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory lab in the South Pole.Details are scant—by which I mean non-existent; officials didn’t even give a sneak peek at what this “breakthrough” entails.The appropriately named IceCube lab consists of 86 cables extending 1.5 miles into the Antarctic ice. Each string holds 60 Digital Optical Modules, designed to detect emissions from rare interactions between neutrinos (neutral particles that interact weakly with other types of matter) and water-ice molecules.Trillions of neutrinos stream through Earth every second, making them a challenge to find—a challenge the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has bravely undertaken.As of November 2013, IceCube identified 28 neutrinos that likely originated outside the Solar System. Perhaps today’s reveal will follow a similar theme?The event, moderated by NSF director France Córdova, will feature leading astrophysicists—including representatives from nearly two dozen observatories on Earth and in space.Visit the NSF YouTube channel at 11 a.m. ET to watch the briefing live.Panelists include: Francis Halzen, IceCube principal investigator, University of Wisconsin-Madison Regina Caputo, Fermi-LAT analysis coordinator, University of Maryland/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Razmik Mirzoyan, MAGIC spokesperson, Max Planck Institute for Physics Olga Botner, former IceCube spokesperson, Uppsala UniversityMulti-messenger astrophysics, as described by, refers to the use of two or more different types of signals to observe a cosmic object or phenomenon.IceCube’s multi-messenger program—which targets detection of transient sources in real time—sends alerts of high-energy neutrino events (called multiplets).“In collaboration with other observatories, we aim at identifying the electromagnetic counterpart of a rapidly fading source or coincident gravitational waves,” the website said.While we watch today’s announcement from the comfort of our desk chairs and the summer heat, scientists at the South Pole are still finding their way through the darkness of winter—but under a beautifully starry sky.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Scientists Discover Possible Interstellar VisitorWater Vapor Detected on Potentially ‘Habitable’ Planet last_img

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