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- Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a radio telescope instrument to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos from a scientific balloon flying over the continent of Antarctica.
- It involves an array of radio antennas attached to a helium balloon which flies over the Antarctic ice sheet at 37,000 meters.
- At such a height, the antennas can listen to the cosmos and detect high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, which constantly bombard the planet.
- It is the first NASA observatory for neutrinos of any kind.
- ANITA detects neutrinos pinging in from space and colliding with matter in the Antarctic ice sheet through the Askaryan effect.
- Recently, NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) has detected the unusual upward movement of neutrinos in Antarctica.
- Instead of the high-energy neutrinos streaming in from space, they seem to have come from the Earth’s interior, before hitting the detectors of ANITA.
- Usually, the high-energy particles move top to bottom (i.e. from space to the earth).
- However, ANITA has detected an anomaly i.e. particles have been detected travelling bottom to top.