Spinning Grains of Cosmic Dust Could Explain Weird Signals at the North Pole

Live Science | 11/29/2018 | Staff
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Scientists have detected a mysterious signal above the North Pole.

Though it's not clear exactly what's causing it, new research supports the idea that the signal may be coming from tiny, ultrafast-spinning grains of cosmic dust.

North - Pole - Signal - Survey - Dustier

The strange North Pole signal, detected by a massive, all-sky survey, originates in some of the dustier corners of our galaxy and is part of a galaxy-wide signal that has puzzled scientists for decades. Because this mysterious emission can muddy signals coming from the faint afterglow from the Big Bang, understanding it better could ultimately help researchers get a better picture of the early universe.

"The new data from the C-Band All Sky Survey basically rules [synchrotron radiation and free-free emission] out quite strongly," CliveDickinson, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester in England and lead author on the new paper, told Live Science.

C-Band - All - Sky - Survey - C-BASS

The C-Band All Sky Survey, or C-BASS, aims to map the entire sky at a frequency of 5 gigahertz, using two telescopes located in California and South Africa. The new research focused on the north celestial pole region — the part of the sky directly over the North Pole. The scientists could eliminate the two most common sources of emissions by looking at lower frequencies than had been previously studied.

The leading theory, supported by this new research, proposes AME instead comes from tiny dust particles — only a few hundred atoms each. These nanoparticles are spinning at incredible rates due to interactions, such as collisions with, or drag from, other particles in the interstellar medium.

Emission - Nanoparticles - Point - Percent - Emission

"I suspect [the emission] is coming from spinning nanoparticles, but at this point I'd say we're not 100 percent certain that that's the emission process," Bruce Draine, an astrophysicist at Princeton University who was not involved in the current...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Live Science
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