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IceCube Catches High-Energy Neutrino Oscillations

from Nature News

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a telescope at the South Pole that detects the subatomic particles known as neutrinos, has measured the highest-energy neutrino oscillations yet.

IceCube was designed primarily to study neutrinos streaming from astrophysical objects such as supernovae and ?-ray bursts. But the detection of neutrino oscillations--the transformation of one type of neutrino into another--represents new scientific territory for the experiment, an area that falls under the umbrella of particle physics.

This is our first step into particle physics," says Andreas Gross, a postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, who led the oscillation analysis. While the results are relatively unsurprising, IceCube researchers say they may eventually be able to contribute to an explicit understanding of the neutrino mass hierarchy, or which of the three known neutrino types, or 'flavours', is the heaviest and which is the lightest.

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