Neutrinos Linked With Cosmic Source for the First Time

That source appears to be a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy. Every time a black hole gobbles up a star, it spews out a stream of very high-energy radiation in the form of a laserlike jet. Astronomers say that it “flares.” They call these flaring black holes blazars and believe that energetic neutrinos are created as a by-product of the radiation. The find, described in a series of two papers published in Science (here and here), has not only settled a long-standing debate in astronomy over the origin of high-energy neutrinos. This discovery is also the second example (after last year’s observation of colliding neutron stars) of a new scientific approach called multimessenger astronomy, in which astronomers use both light and another cosmic messenger (neutrinos in this case, gravitational waves in the other) to reveal the details of an astrophysical event.

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