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Read a transcript of this video  |  Video Information |  Videography by Ralph Maestas

In the video above, scientists and NSF officials discuss the purpose of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory upon completion of its construction at the end of 2010. Three years later, the world's largest neutrino detector has made history with the detection of very high-energy neutrinos from outside the solar system.

From a galaxy far, far away

IceCube finds first solid evidence of neutrinos from outside the solar system

Researchers with the IceCube External Non-U.S. government site collaboration have announced that a National Science Foundation (NSF) External U.S. government site-built detector at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station External U.S. government site allowed them to observe 28 very high-energy neutrinos that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators such as black holes.

"This is the first indication of high-energy neutrinos coming from outside our solar system," says Francis Halzen External Non-U.S. government site, principal investigator of IceCube and the Hilldale and Gregory Breit Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison External Non-U.S. government site. "It is gratifying to finally see what we have been looking for. This is the dawn of a new age of astronomy."

Details of the research are in the Nov. 22 edition of the journal Science.

People prepare to lower orb into hole.
Photo Credit: Peter Rejcek/Antarctic Photo Library
The IceCube deployment team prepares the final string of digital optical modules for the subglacial neutrino detector on Dec. 18, 2010.

The IceCube collaboration made the discovery using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a particle detector buried in Antarctic ice at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. NSF built the detector using a Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) award, with assistance from partner funding agencies around the world. Officials in NSF's Polar Programs and Physics External U.S. government site divisions manage the observatory's operations, as well as the U.S. portion of the IceCube science research projects.

NSF's Division of Polar Programs has a presidential mandate to manage the U.S. Antarctic Program External U.S. government site, through which it coordinates all U.S. research on the southernmost continent and aboard ships in the Southern Ocean and provides all of the logistics needed to support that science.

"IceCube is a wonderful and unique astrophysical telescope. It is deployed deep in the Antarctic ice, but looks over the entire universe, detecting neutrinos coming through the Earth from the northern skies, as well as from around the Southern skies," said Vladimir Papitashvili, Antarctic astrophysics and geospace science External U.S. government site program director.

Added Jim Whitmore, program director on the particle astrophysics External Non-U.S. government site  program, "The IceCube Neutrino Observatory has opened a new era in neutrino astrophysical observations. It is in the forefront of the entire field of neutrino astronomy, now delivering observations that have been long-awaited by both theorists and experimentalists."

See more of the story from NSF here External U.S. government site.

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Curator: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Support Contract | NSF Official: Winifred Reuning, Division of Polar Programs