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A new world: ‘Ghost particles’ and the breakthrough in astronomy

They’re called the universe’s ‘ghost particles’.

There’s excitement in the scientific world that for the first time, scientists have been able to trace a cosmic neutrino back to where it started its journey in the universe.

So Grubby and Dee Dee got a lesson in astro-physics on 3AW Breakfast from Australian National University astronomer Dr Brad Tucker, and how significant the news is.

He explained neutrinos as small, lightweight particles which sail through the universe unimpeded.

“It’s kind of like instead of having one eye, we now have two” – astronomer Dr Brad Tucker

And the news overnight that the discovery could open up a new world in astronomy, giving scientists a new way of seeing previously invisible parts of the universe.

“Neutrinos have no charge, but they also almost have no mass. All this means is that they can travel through the universe but they are not affected by gravity,” he said.

“They are on an expressway through the universe.”

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Photo:  The IceCube laboratory at the South Pole, where scientists made the first ever detection of a high-energy neutrino. Erik Beiser/The IceCube Collaboration/PA