Just a few weeks ago, scientists operating the ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) had published a study they conducted after the instrument found some odd particles in the Antarctica. After the paper got issued, tabloids like the New York Post, Express, and the Daily Star, mostly quoting each other, started a series of claims that NASA experts have found evidence of a parallel universe.
In fact, researchers have discovered signals of fundamental particles that may not follow our current theory of physics, but could simply be an issue with the way particles interact with the ice.
A Parallel Universe?
Simply put, there is no evidence of ‘a parallel universe, right next to ours, where all the rules of physics seem to be operating in reverse,’ as Daily Star put it. Ibrahim Safa of UW–Madison, who was a lead author on a research paper about the analysis in question in Antarctica, took it to Twitter to share his thought about the current ‘news’ stories that link his research with proof of a parallel universe.
Me: We looked at these ANITA events and they can't be standard neutrinos. They were probably a result of our imperfect understanding of the Antarctic ice, but there's a chance some new physics phenomenon is responsible.
Tabloids: PARALLEL UNIVERSE!!!
— Ibrahim Safa (@IbrahimSafa1) May 21, 2020
The numerous stories that have birthed the headline seem to originate from an article published in the New Scientist, which talks about some surprising results from research on cosmic rays, or high-energy particles, led in Antarctica, and which are coming from the outer region of Earth.
However, it is all related to three different scientific studies: the research paper from the ANITA that discovered ‘upward-pointing cosmic ray-like-events,’ a study published in response that suggests ANITA results could offer evidence for a ‘CPT symmetric universe,’ where time would run backward from the Big Bang and antimatter would be abundant.
This particular research notes that ‘in this scenario, the universe before the Big Bang and the universe after the Big Bang is reinterpreted as a universe/anti-universe pair that is created from nothing.’
Finally, a third research paper that’s been published in The Astrophysical Journal from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory suggests that we need to take into consideration other explanations to make sense of ANITA data. Still, the only real conclusion the study got to is that the standard model regarding neutrinos, or fundamental particles, doesn’t explain the finding of an odd event by ANITA.
“ANITA’s events are definitely interesting, but we’re a long way away from even claiming there’s any new physics, let alone an entire universe,” said Safa.
So What Did ANITA Find and What Does the Study Conclude?
Back in 2016, ANITA detected some odd signals, which were evidence of a high-energy particle, incredibly high-energy neutrinos, appearing from Earth’s surface, but having no source.
“Explaining this signal requires the existence of a topsy-turvy universe created in the same Big Bang as our own and existing in parallel with it. In this mirror world, positive is negative, left is right, and time runs backwards,” the New Scientist stated.
That is the CPT symmetric universe. Still, the results form the analysis on ANITA data using IceCube published in the paper, states that the event is ‘inconsistent with a cosmogenic interpretation’ and ‘new physics.’
“An astrophysical explanation of these anomalous events under standard model assumptions is severely constrained regardless of source spectrum,” the paper concludes.
Safa was also quoted saying that “it looks like we’ll have to wait for the next generation of experiments, which will increase exposure and sensitivity, to get a clear understanding of this anomaly.”