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Neutrinos Created By Energy-Generating Fusion Process Detected In Sun's Core

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Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online

Thanks to one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on Earth, physicists have for the first time confirmed the existence of low-energy neutrinos created by the “keystone” proton-proton (pp) fusion process taking place in the core of the sun, ending a search that has been going on in the scientific community for decades.

The pp reaction, the researchers explain, is the first step of a reaction sequence responsible for roughly 99 percent of the sun’s power. Solar neutrinos are produced in nuclear processes and radioactive decays of various elements during fusion reactions occurring at the sun’s core, and these particles wind up shooting out of the star at roughly the speed of light, with up to 420 billion of them pelting every square inch of the Earth’s surface each second.

Since they only interact through nuclear weak force, the particles can pass through matter virtually unaffected, which has made it difficult to detect them and tell them apart from trace nuclear decays of other materials. Now, however, an international team of over 100 scientists write in the latest edition of the journal Nature that they have completed spectral observations of pp neutrinos.

According to Nature News writer Ron Cowen, the study is the first to confirm the existence of these low-energy neutrinos.

“While the detection validates well-established stellar fusion theory, future, more sensitive versions of the experiment could look for deviations from the theory that would reveal new physics,” he added.

The researchers used the Borexino detector, a particle physics unit designed to study low energy solar neutrinos that is housed deep beneath Italy’s Apennine Mountains at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, Cowen said. The research helps ease some doubts about the multistep process through which the sun converts hydrogen into helium.

That process, he explained, is the source of 99 percent of the sun’s energy. It begins when the star’s hot, dense core squeezes two protons together to form the hydrogen isotope deuterium. One of those protons then transforms into a neutron and releases both a neutrino and a positron (the electron’s antimatter counterpart).

While physicists had a general understanding of the process, there were fears that they might have been mistaken about the precise reactions that take place and the relative importance of each, Cohen said. However, this study removes those doubts, and for this reason, University of California, Irvine neutrino physicist Michael Smy told Nature News that the Borexino collaboration’s direct detection of the neutrinos was “a landmark achievement.”

“With these latest neutrino data, we are directly looking at the originator of the sun’s biggest energy producing process, or chain of reactions, going on in its extremely hot, dense core,” University of Massachusetts Amherst physicist Andrea Pocar said in a statement. “While the light we see from the Sun in our daily life reaches us in about eight minutes, it takes tens of thousands of years for energy radiating from the sun’s center to be emitted as light.”

“By comparing the two different types of solar energy radiated, as neutrinos and as surface light, we obtain experimental information about the Sun’s thermodynamic equilibrium over about a 100,000-year timescale,” Pocar added. “As far as we know, neutrinos are the only way we have of looking into the Sun’s interior. These pp neutrinos, emitted when two protons fuse forming a deuteron, are particularly hard to study. This is because they are low energy, in the range where natural radioactivity is very abundant and masks the signal from their interaction.”


Particle Physics: A Beginner’s Guide (Beginner’s Guides) by Brian R. Martin


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    Total 3 comments
    • Mymy

      Dont Think Sun´s Core can be explained because the pressures are forgotten at which all happens.

      For fusing two protons they think of pressure but for what follows they forget that same pressure stil exists what could mean Neutrino´s are Not made at the Core ie because the pressure is to high for particles also the positrons and neutrons to exist and to dense to let any radiation through even neutrino´s with a Core a whole lot denser than lead.

      If neutrino´s are made at the core then – if theorise they get straight and unhindered through to us – then they should come from an remarkably tiny spot at the center of the Sun into Our direction.

      It even is questionable IF any atomic particles even exist at these temperatures at the core areas.

      Thinking of progress of ionic decay at the higher temperatures beyond loosing Electrons but even fall apart into even smaller particles into quark states at such temperatures?

      And from there at the sfere surface form a rematerialisation into the fusion or splittingproducts that generate particles and energy?

      Maby all in the Core is in a cloudy kind of pré bigbang quark state? Another reason for this thought is it seems Not all at once to fuse and explode in the Core? And why should it not if the core would generate the energy? Like a atombomb… a thin sfere surface could explain the seemingly very controled and enduring processes? I think Not even a moderator in the core could explain the controled process as it is because all fuel at same time would be active and very short lived.

      If one day more sensitive neutrino detectors are developed the difference of surface distribution of neutrino emanation could Tell us if they come from a quite homogenic sferelike surface or a dense core with then most emanation out of the middle area?

      Neutrino´s…ever Guessed maby the warming of Earth´s Core is by Neutrino´s? Ever guessed maby Neutrino´s are caught by the denser material of Earth´s Core or deeper layers where they have totaly other properties than at the surface of the Planet and this is cause of warming Our Planet…

      Or do you realy think a magma of 5 billion years old should be the tiniest bit warm stil now? Decay of uranium? Gravity? Besides Planets are NOT formed by huge magmaballs(from where? > the start of a Sun blown even the tiniest particles out of a System including giant Planets – See Horseheadnebula – so No Planetforming at same time as Sunforming possible) but gradualy grow out of Solar Emanations and Accumulations of the same.

      I Think the Neutrino´s have a purpose to Keep us Warm as the UV of the Sun got the Purpose to keep Our Atmosfere Clean by reducing pollutants and gasses back to what is Healthy.

      Some Neutrino Detector might try to Look if catching increases with detectors under higher pressures?

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