Researchers working in Antarctica have been trying to understand the behavior of a mysterious new particle.
Some suggest it’s evidence that during the Big Bang a second universe was created that mirrors our own, consisting mainly of antimatter, and in which time flows backward.
The shocking revelations came from an expedition to Antarctica during which researchers were hoping to study cosmic radiation arriving from space.
Researchers traveled to Antarctica to record high energy particles coming from space, using a balloon transporting NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)
The team attached NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) to a high altitude balloon and set it aloft in search of high energy particles coming from other solar systems, which are typically undetectable at lower elevations because of atmospheric interference.
Initially, the ANITA balloon produced no evidence of high energy particles, according to a report in New Scientist.
But then the researchers, led by University of Hawaii’s Peter Gorham, realized their data showed the exact opposite of what they had been looking for: a stream of high energy particles traveling out of the Earth’s surface and into space.
The particles were believed to be tau neutrinos, a type of slow moving particle that has the capacity to temporarily transform into a high energy particle called a tau lepton before returning to its low energy state.
While high energy particles are typically deflected or distorted by the Earth’s atmosphere and surface, low energy particles could potentially pass all the way through.
Initially, the team didn’t have any look capturing high energy particle streams from space, but subsequent analysis of the data from ANITA showed there were high energy particle readings coming from Earth and traveling into space, a surprising discovery
This meant the tau neutrinos could have traveled through space as a high energy particle, transformed to a low energy particle as it passed through the Earth’s atmosphere and planet core, then transformed back to a high energy particle as it traveled out the other side and re-entered space.
‘Not everyone was comfortable with the hypothesis,’ Gorham told New Scientist, in part because it still left the origin of the particle a mystery.
Soon other researchers began analyzing the ANITA data to grapple with the mystery, including Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada.
The University of Hawaii’s Peter Gorham was part of the original expedition and originally suggested the particles were a kind of neutrino that was capable of transforming between high energy and low energy states that allowed it to pass through Earth and out the other side
WHAT IS ANTIMATTER?
Antimatter is the mirror of ordinary matter.
Normal atoms are made up of positively-charged nuclei orbited by negatively-charged electrons.
However, their antimatter counterparts are the other way round.
They have negative nuclei and positively-charged electrons, known as positrons.
When matter and antimatter meet they instantly annihilate each other, releasing a burst of detectable energy.
Turok and his team conducted a range of complex calculations and suggested that the tau neutrinos observed in Antarctica could be an entirely new kind of particle, a ‘right-handed neutrino’ that mirrored the more familiar kind of neutrino, dubbed a ‘left-handed neutrino.’
Turok suggested the right-handed and left-handed neutrinos could be related in the same way that matter and antimatter are related, pointing specifically to a concept that posits matter and antimatter are the same type of particle just moving in opposite directions through time.
According to this theory, the still mysterious ‘right-handed’ neutrinos’ observed in Antarctica weren’t just new particles, but pilgrims from an entirely new universe.
That new universe would have formed during the Big Bang at the same point as our own, but moving in the opposite direction through time, contracting rather instead of expanding, and comprised primarily of antimatter rather than matter .
Gorham and his team are still working on analyzing their data and hope to return to Antarctica for further data collection. ‘We don’t know how to represent it yet, but we’ve got something,’ he said
The mysterious neutrino observed in Antarctica then would simply be a mirror inversion of the neutrinos more commonly observed in our universe, which would explain its unusual behavior.
It’s a radical idea with a number of significant technical discrepancies still to be resolved.
One major question is that other researchers working in Antarctica haven’t captured readings of these mysterious ‘right-handed neutrinos’ that Gorham and his team documented.
Gorham says he and his team are still analyzing their data and working to prepare a formal paper, which he believes will be a significant step forward.
‘We don’t know how to represent it yet, but we’ve got something,’ he told New Scientist.
THE BIG BANG THEORY DESCRIBES THE BEGINNING AND EVOLUTION OF THE UNIVERSE
The Big Bang Theory is a cosmological model, a theory used to describe the beginning and the evolution of our universe.
It says that the universe was in a very hot and dense state before it started to expand 13,7 billion years ago.
This theory is based on fundamental observations.
In 1920, Hubble observed that the distance between galaxies was increasing everywhere in the universe.
The Big Bang Theory is a cosmological model, a theory used to describe the beginning and the evolution of our universe, based on observations – including the cosmic background radiation (pictured), which is a like a fossil of radiation emitted during the beginning of the universe, when it was hot and dense
This means that galaxies had to be closer to each other in the past.
In 1964, Wilson and Penzias discovered the cosmic background radiation, which is a like a fossil of radiation emitted during the beginning of the universe, when it was hot and dense.
The cosmic background radiation is observable everywhere in the universe.
The composition of the universe – that is, the the number of atoms of different elements – is consistent with the Big Bang Theory.
So far, this theory is the only one that can explain why we observe an abundance of primordial elements in the universe.