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What Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) all about? Explain ...

  Jun 24, 2020

What Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) all about? Explain it’s purposes. What has been it’s recent observation?

  1. Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a radio telescope instrument to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos from a scientific balloon flying over the continent of Antarctica.
  2. It involves an array of radio antennas attached to a helium balloon which flies over the Antarctic ice sheet at 37,000 meters.
  3. At such a height, the antennas can listen to the cosmos and detect high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, which constantly bombard the planet.
  4. It is the first NASA observatory for neutrinos of any kind.
  5. Recently, NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) has detected the unusual upward movement of neutrinos in Antarctica.
  6. Instead of the high-energy neutrinos streaming in from space, they seem to have come from the Earth's interior, before hitting the detectors of ANITA.
  7. Usually, the high-energy particles move top to bottom (i.e. from space to the earth). However, ANITA has detected an anomaly i.e. particles have been detected travelling bottom to top.
  8. When neutrinos smash into an atom, they produce a shower of detectable secondary particles. These detectable secondary particles allow them to probe where they came from in the universe.
  9. However, neutrinos pose no threat to human beings and pass through most solid objects. Additionally, they rarely do interact with matter.
  10. The ANITA experiment has definitely detected something unusual and unexpected about neutrinos but there are many competing theories about it. 
  11. There are a number of potential candidate particles that could account for the results from ANITA.