The universe grows with every passing second, and physics is a constantly evolving section of our scientific world. We used to think atoms were the smallest particles in our solar system until, wanting to learn more, we dug deeper. With every passing year, our scientists learn and discover many new theories and particles that we never knew existed. This week Live Science shared an incredible story of a new-ish particle that has only ever been seen once in the past 30 years.

I'm back

According to Live Science, the particle that was found in the physics experiment is called "sterile neutrinos." The first time this type of particle was detected was in the 1990s by the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector.

This experiment was performed in a laboratory located in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Since then many other laboratories have tried to duplicate the experiment with no luck in locating the sterile neutrinos. Due to the lack of results, scientists shelved the project of finding the sterile neutrinos, until now.

How our scientists understand physics and have for the last 50+ years is by the Standard Model of physics. The Standard Model of physics is basically a list of all known particles and this list helps us understand how our world and solar system interacts and works with each other. According to Science Alert, there are three known neutrinos in the world that we have been able to study extensively. The three neutrinos that we know of are called electron, muon, and tau. They are categorized as "high-energy" and move throughout the universe barely touching matter.

How Live Science explains it is, "there are billions of neutrinos that come from the sun and pass through our skin every moment, but the chances of them interacting with the particles in our body are extremely unlikely."

Sterile neutrinos

As reported by Live Science, during an experiment near Chicago in the laboratory called MiniBooNE, formally called Fermi National Acceleratory (Fermilab), they came across sterile neutrinos again. The chances of this particle showing up were pretty much nonexistent, but nonetheless, it happened and the scientists were both baffled and excited. On both papers (the one done in Los Alamos and the one done in Chicago) that were written up about the experimental findings suggest that the neutrinos are oscillating into heavier, hidden, sterile neutrinos that can't be directly detected until they oscillate back into a detectable realm. During the experiment in MiniBooNE, according to Science Alert, they witnessed and observed 2,437 events, which was roughly 460 more events than expected.

The unique findings in both of these experiments may prove to be less than unique in the future. Scholberg explained to Live Science that maybe the reason why these two were the only successful experiments to find sterile neutrinos is that they had a similar setup reaction with the neutrinos to allow them to show up in our detectable realm. Scholberg then continued to tell Live Science that because these sterile neutrinos have shown up again, many scientists will have to explain what the difference was in their failed experiments from the two that were successful. She further explained that because of the likelihood that the scientists will have to further examine and explain their failed experiments, they may have to revise their whole understanding of physics in the universe.

With the probabilities being low to uncover this again, many scientists will doubt the results of the experiment, but thankfully the experiment that was done in MiniBooNE is sound enough not to be put into question.