This is not science fiction. Deep in Antarctica, scientists recently discovered some neutrinos. The neutrinos did not come from Earth. They did not even come from our own galaxy. They came from…beyond. It brings to mind science fiction stories of aliens stashed in sacred caves coming back to life, or comic books like Marvel’s Eternals in which ages-old star beings lived beneath the earth’s crust. But neutrinos aren’t like that.
The stars are among us
Neutrinos are incredibly small –about a billion could have a dance party on a hydrogen atom and more than a million hydrogen atoms could dance on the head of a pin. Neutrinos are also fast. They can zip through the middle of a light year’s worth of lead (six trillion miles) without making contact with any atoms.
And yet scientists found some deep under the ice, way under Antarctica.
That’s a bit more than a needle in a haystack. It’s mind-boggling.
And those neutrinos came from where? According to the article, “exploding stars, black holes and galactic cores.” But none next door. If they were from a “nearby” galaxy, that would mean they came from somewhere within 11.7 million light years away (again, a light year is six trillion miles!). And they might not be from a galaxy “nearby.”
But they should be familiar in a way. As astronomist Carl Sagan once said, “We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.” And that’s true. The atoms we’re made of–carbon and nitrogen and oxygen–come from the stars as well. All of us are made of star-stuff.
We find this all pretty amazing.
Bliss Group is a kids book publisher, and most kids have more awe and wonder than the rest of us. Kids say, with amazement, “Did you know…?” So in our Awe & Wonder series, we will try to focus on things we find amazing, maybe get some book ideas for things that prompt awe and amazement, and sometimes discuss why we think awe and wonder are so important.
Share and connect–help build a Bliss community
What do you find awe inspiring?