Representative of the Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology of the University of Nova Gorica Tells About Her Discovery as Part of the NASA Mission

In our recent publications, we told that as part of the NASA mission, the representative of the University of Nova Gorica, Dr. Gabrijela Zaharijas, took part in the discovery of a black hole, which sent a high-energy neutrino stream towards Antarctica. Here is the story of the scientist about the essence of her study.

Almost four billion years ago, a black hole in the centre of a distant galaxy created a stream of high-energy particles. When in September last year, they reached our planet, an international group of researchers, including myself, managed to fix one of them – a fragile neutrino – and to determine its probable place of origin by using the NASA Fermi space telescope.

More than 100 years ago, scientists found that space particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere and pass through it. Since then, we have been wondering where they are coming from, what space accelerators are capable of giving them such large charges of energy to overcome enormous cosmic distances. We have currently received the first direct evidence of that astrophysical sources, so-called Blazars or, more precisely, the supermassive black holes that are located in their centres, produce and accelerate the cosmic particles imparting them with energy charges that ten times excess the charges we generate in particle accelerators in our laboratories. We have already published the article about this discovery in the prestigious Science journal.

The event reminds the last year’s story about the merger of two neutron stars. At that time, the gravitational detectors fixed a gravitational-wave signal, and sometime later, the Fermi satellite detected gamma radiation from the same part of the universe. Then about 70 observatories studied in detail the received radiation of all types, which gave many important astrophysical results,” said Gabrijela Zaharijas.

It should be noted that Dr. Gabrijela Zaharijas, representing the Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Nova Gorica, has been participating in the Fermi LAT project since the launch of the satellite in 2008. At present, she is the coordinator of the working group on new physics and the study of dark matter. Gabrijela Zaharijas participates in numerous projects, in which she analyses the data obtained within Fermi LAT and seeks astrophysical signals of dark matter, which are another important mystery of modern physics. It is planned that together with the staff of the Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology of the University of Nova Gorica, Gabrijela Zaharijas will organize a regular meeting of the Fermi LAT participants in Bled in March 2019. The Lanthieri Mansion in Vipava will host a series of events, during which the public will have an opportunity to learn more about this and other modern astrophysical discoveries.

Besides the author, astrophysics, high-energy particles and observational astronomy are studied by other employees of the Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Nova Gorica: Andrej Filipčič, Andreja Gomboc, Tanja Petrushevska, Samo Stanič, Serguei Vorbiov, Lili Yang, Danilo Zavrtanik, Marko Zavrtanik and six PhD students. Their work is supported by the State Agency for Scientific Research.