Waiting for a Supernova
The poltergeists of physics. That is how scientists refer to neutrinos, the elementary particles that zip through our bodies and morph into different forms like “cosmic chameleons evading capture.” Neutrinos are also said to be “pathologically shy” in that they rarely interact with other particles. And yet, it is said that whenever anything cool happens in the universe, neutrinos are usually involved.
A gigantic supernova explosion would qualify as a cool cosmic event. Neutrinos, which travel at nearly the speed of light, would bring this information to us. Let’s say that a massive star dies on the far side of the Milky Way galaxy. We might not see this event with our optical telescopes because stellar dust obscures the visible light. However, the neutrinos would still get through.
"Because these particles don’t interact with much they can escape from the site of mayhem — basically from the core of the explosion unhindered and reach us and therefore confirm directly what’s going on there."