No neutrinos from black hole smash

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The first hunt for neutrinos coming from the merger of two black holes — which last year produced the first direct detection of gravitational waves — has come up empty.

Imre Bartos at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues analysed data from two neutrino detectors: ANTARES, under the Mediterranean Sea, and IceCube at the South Pole. They found that no neutrinos were detected at ANTARES in the 500 seconds before or after the black holes collided, and that just three were detected at IceCube — none of which came from the direction of the event.

The scarcity of neutrinos from the collision puts an upper limit on how much energy it could have radiated through the near-massless particles, say the authors. If researchers can find a signal from a black-hole collision in the future, they could use the relatively high spatial resolution of neutrino telescopes to pinpoint its location.

Phys. Rev. D 93, 122010 (2016)

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