The IceCube Neutrino Observatory has detected high-energy neutrinos that are consistent with being from astrophysical sources. While there are many plausible objects that could explain the emission (including various types of active galactic nuclei and starburst galaxies) it is not yet know which objects make a significant contribution. Supernovae in starburst galaxies will cause shock waves that accelerate particles to high energies. These accelerated particles (“cosmic rays”) can collide with protons in the gas clouds in galaxies and ultimately produce neutrino emission. Starburst galaxies are numerous and could plausibly provide an explanation for this background if they emit enough neutrinos.
A handful of individual sources have been identified as neutrino emitters, including two active galactic nuclei. Neutrino emission models for other types of objects are important for predicting their discovery potential with IceCube or with a next generation neutrino observatory.
In “Investigating starburst-driven neutrino emission from galaxies in the Great Observatories All-Sky LIRG Survey” (Merckx+) we develop and present a model for the neutrino emission from starburst galaxies, formulated in a way that observationally determined galaxy properties are used as inputs. This provides a convenient method of predicting the neutrino emission based on properties such as the supernova rate, the density of the interstellar medium, and other parameters. We use this model to predict the neutrino emission for infrared bright starburst galaxies in the Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey.