Secrets of high-energy cosmic particles

The “IceCube” neutrino observatory deep in the ice of the South Pole has already brought spectacular new insights into cosmic incidents of extremely high energies. In order to investigate the cosmic origins of elementary particles with even higher energies, Prof. Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now started an international initiative to build a neutrino telescope several cubic kilometers in size in the northeastern Pacific.

Astronomers observe the light that comes to us from distant celestial objects to explore the Universe. However, light does not tell us much about the highest energy events beyond our Galaxy, such as the jets of active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts or supernovae, because photons in the upper gamma-ray range lose their extreme energies on their long way through the Universe through interaction with other particles.Just like light, neutrinos traverse space at the speed of light (almost) but interact extremely rarely with other particles. They maintain their energy and direction, which makes them unique messengers of the highest energy universe.

Messenger of distant cosmic events

Since 2013, when the IceCube Neutrino Observatory detected extragalactic neutrinos for the first time, astrophysicists have been striving to understand from which cosmic sources they come and which physical mechanism has accelerated them to such extreme energies.