Signals coming from the ice baffle physicists because they could challenge the Standard Model, which is in force today. One of the physicists leading the research believes that there is a parallel universe and it would be exactly next to the current one and that it would also have been formed with the outbreak of the Big Bang.
One of the pillars of modern physics, the Standard Model of particles, crumbles before new events measured in Antarctica. Physicists knew that it is an incomplete theory and now, a series of experiments suggest the possibility of new species of neutrinos beyond the three described in the model.
Neutrinos are subatomic elementary particles that arise in nuclear processes, have a very small mass and have no charge. These particles usually pass through materials, except for one type.
“There are three families of neutrinos: electronic, muonic, and tauonic. Neutrinos in nature can have different energies. Low-energy ones can pass through materials, while very high-energy ones interact much more with matter. In general, the Standard Model predicts that those with very high energies cannot pass through the Earth or, rather, the probability that they will pass through is very, very low”, Explains Gianluca Calcagni, physicist at the IEM-CSIC.
In 2016, very high-energy particles appeared to have crossed through the ice of Antarctica, triggering detectors in the Antarctic Transitive Impulse Antenna (ANITA) experiment, a device tasked with measuring neutrinos in excess. 30 kilometers from the Earth's surface. They were very similar to high-energy neutrinos, and that contradicted the theory.
Many of these neutrinos come from the interactions of cosmic rays with cosmic microwave radiation (CMB), the faint glow of the Big Bang, a phenomenon known as "flux." Both ANITA and the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole had already measured how cosmic flux shows up on their sensors, and it doesn't produce enough high-energy particles to expect to detect even one flying off Earth.
A possible explanation according to the standard model was that the particles came from a single source that had emitted a large amount of neutrinos of this energy: cosmic rays, triggers of bursts of neutrinos hidden in space that would be activated periodically and whose particles would reach the earth.
From there, a team of physicists working on the IceCube tried to see if this explanation could be valid. If the particles were neutrinos driven by the cosmic flares of the Standard Model, then the beam should have been accompanied by lower-energy particles that would have triggered the IceCube's detectors.
ANITA actually detects radio waves, an indirect signal from neutrinos. By not detecting the neutrino itself, it only collects the highest energy ones. That is why they turned to the IceCube, which can find these particles directly and, therefore, detect neutrinos of a greater range of energies. But the IceCube researchers found no evidence for such cosmic accelerators.
“In this way the experiment could falsify this hypothesis, because if it had been true, IceCube would have observed neutrinos of other energies that they did not observe. Then the highly energetic source was discarded as origin”Says Calcagni.
What the neutrino observatory did detect were several additional particles that do not match the expected behavior of any of the Standard Model that further supported ANITA's measurements. From there, the team of physicists behind the IceCube has cast great doubts on the model explanation.
“The events recorded by ANITA are called "anomalous" because, if the theory is correct, then they should not be observed. So now there are two possibilities: either it is a systematic error of the experiment or there is some phenomenon that goes beyond the Standard Model”Calcagni explains.
The simplest explanation of the phenomenon is that at the time of the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, two universes were formed, ours and another that works in reverse and where time goes backwards. "Now we have to analyze the most exciting or boring possibilities”, Detailed Ibrahim Safa, who also worked on the experiment.
If indeed science needs a new physics to unravel the mystery because, for example, the measured neutrinos are other similar particles, it still cannot bet on a specific explanation because it does not have enough data and it requires more time to solve the problem. .