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Highlights from the IAU Meeting

A collection of reports from the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, Beijing

5:16pm, August 29, 2012

Super neutrinos spotted
Two super-high-energy particles have been detected by IceCube, the massive neutrino telescope buried in Antarctic ice. IceCube is looking for neutrinos that point toward the still-unknown astrophysical objects responsible for slinging ultra-high-energy cosmic rays toward Earth. These two neutrinos, one seen in August 2011 and the other in January 2012, have enough energy to be from an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray source, such as a gamma-ray burst. “They are at least 10 times the energy of any neutrino we’ve seen before,” says Francis Halzen, an IceCube team member from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who discussed the find on August 22. But these particles are electron neutrinos — flavors that, instead of streaking through the detector and neatly pointing toward home, leave a more bulbous footprint. The shape means that even though IceCube scientists can find the general direction from which the parti

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