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Discovery of an energetic cosmic neutrino source due to very high energy gamma ray observations

On September 22nd last year the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole detected a high energy neutrino with a likely cosmic origin. A single neutrino does not suffice to identify its source. Very soon after its detection telescopes working at different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum started to observe the location it came from. Already 4 hours after the detection the HESS telescope located in Namibia started the observations. It was soon followed by VERITAS telescope (Arizona, USA), which started observing 12 hours after the alert. Next day the MAGIC telescope (Canary Islands) joined the campaign. These initial observations provided upper limits on the brightness of the source. The MAGIC telescope continued the monitoring campaign until  October 4th, observing for a total of 13 hours. During these observations the source brightened up and became  clearly detectable.

The observations that were performed with the telescopes sensitive from the radio band all the way to the very high energy gamma-rays indicate that the source is the TXS 0506+056 galaxy, about 4 billion light years away. The galaxy is a blazar, that hosts an accreting black hole which launches powerful jets of matter at speeds close to the speed of light. We observe blazars along the jet direction. Particles are accelerated to high energies in jets, however observing only gamma rays does not allow to distinguish if these are electrons, protons, or even nuclei. Fast protons collide with  the particles of the interstellar gas creating pions, which in turn decay emitting neutrinos.

The discovery of gamma rays long with neutrinos is extremely exciting, because their origin must be connected with the acceleration of cosmic rays. The origin of cosmic rays has been a puzzle for more than 100 year since their discovery. The observation of gamma as and neutrinos indicates that blazars  host environments where cosmic rays are formed, providing the direct evidence for the existence of a cosmic proton accelerator in these objects. The present discovery is another success of the multimessenger astronomy, a new branch of astrophysics which connects not only observations at different wavelengths, but also those with different types of radiation: electromagnetic waves, neutrinos, cosmic rays and gravitational waves.

The paper entiled  „Multimessenger Observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high energy neutrino IceCube-170922A” that describes the observational campaign and its results has been published in Science on July 13 this year.  Prof. M. Ostrowski and dr hab. Marek Jamrozy as well as two PhD students, N. Żywucka-Hejzner and A. Priyama Noel from the Astronomical Observatory of Jagiellonian University are among the authors of this paper.

There is a big Polish group of astronomers and physicists participating in gamma ray observations of the Universe. Scientists from UJ as well as from UW, CAMK PAN, UNK, and IFJ PAN take part in the  HESS observatory operation and data analysis, and a group from UŁ takes part in the MAGIC observatory.


Dr Maria Giovanna Dainotti from the Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian University received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italian: Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana) for her studies on the possible use of the gamma rays explorations to investigate the origins of the universe.


Marian Smoluchowski Kraków Research Consortium "Matter-Energy-Future", which includes our Faculty as one of its members, was granted the status of a Leading National Research Centre (KNOW) read more...


For his invention, a matrix positron emission tomography scanner, Prof. Paweł Moskal was awarded a gold medal and the Cup of the delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 58th International Exhibition of Innovation, Research and New Technologies "BRUSSELS INNOVA 2009", which was held from November 19 to 21, 2011 in Brussels and was devoted to technology transfer and implementation of new technologies. read more...

Prof. Andrzej M. Oleś was conferred the 2009 Maria Skłodowska-Curie Scientific Award in Physics for his series of papers on quantum entanglement in metal oxides. The award was granted at the plenary session of the Third Division of the Polish Academy of Sciences on October 21, 2009. The presentation took place on December 7, 2009 in the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw.

Two members of our faculty's academic staff, Prof. Andrzej Białas and Prof. Marcin Wójcik received Prime Minister's awards for extraordinary scientific achievements. The presentation took place on February 5, 2009.

Dr Tomasz Kawalec from the JU Institute of Physics co-invented a new type of an atom laser: a device emitting a coherent beam of atoms, in the sense of the de Broglie wavelength. The atoms are guided in an optical waveguide with minimal transverse
excitations, which is the main advantage of this laser. Moreover, atoms
may be emitted on demand, in the state sensitive or insensitive to the
magnetic field.  read more…


A doctoral student of the JU Institute of Physics, Mr Michał P. Heller won the award of the Forum Akademickie monthly, in a competition for the best popular science article: "Complicated and simple. Young scientists about their research." His article, "Vibrating strings, falling apples and the most popular liquid in nature," was aimed to popularize research on the potential applications of string theory. read more…   

A group of physicists from the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science: A. Ochab-Marcinek, P.F. Góra, M.P. Heller, T. Romańczukiewicz and D. Sokołowska, collaborating with Tygodnik Powszrchny weekly were awarded with special certificates in the Polish Press Agency competition "Popularizer of Science." The physicists collaborate with Tygodnik Powszechny, writing articles about science and running a popular science blog:

Dr Katarzyna Psonka received Christoph Schmelzer award for the best doctoral thesis related to the project of hadron cancer therapy. read more…


The Polish Academy of Sciences bestowed the Maria Skłodowska-Curie award on Prof. dr hab. Jakub Zakrzewski and the Stefan Pieńkowski award on Dr hab. Jacek Dziarmaga. read more...

Prof. dr hab Andrzej Michał Oleś and Prof. dr hab. Marek Szymoński became the winners of SUBSYDIA PROFESORSKIE competition run by the Foundation for Polish Science read more...


The Ministry of Science and Higher Education decided to introduce new parametric evaluation of academic institutions. The JU Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science fell into the first category.

The Jagiellonian University Medal was presented to two distinguished authorities on statistical physics, Professor Andrzej Fuliński from the JU Institute of Physics and Professor Peter Hänggi from the University of Augsburg. read more…