Neutrinos are subatomic particles that hardly make any interaction with matter. They are also very hard to detect. But nuclear fusion occuring on the solar surface produce neutrinos in abundance.
There are two types of nuclear fusion processes occuring on the solar surface. One is proton-proton cycle and the other is CNO cycle. CNO stands for carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. However, these three elements allow the reactions to further proceed.
NEUTRINOS FROM DIFFERENT CYCLES:
Fusion takes place in two ways. That means hydrogen fuses into helium in the solar core in two different ways. Scientists had observed neutrinos from the proton-proton cycles. Proton-proton cycles produce almost 99 per cent of the sun’s energy. However, the one per cent goes to the CNO cycle. But scientists hadn’t found those subatomic particles in the latter cycle.
BOREXINO: THE NEUTRINOS’ DETECTOR:
Borexino detects low energy solar neutrinos. This detector is located deep underground at the Grass Sasso National Laboratory, Italy. Its main function is to look for flashes of light. These flashes of light are produced when neutrinos hit electrons in a big vat of liquid. According to Borexino, the particles are abundant even though they are very difficult to observe.
More about Borexino here
HOW IS THIS STUDY USEFUL FOR US?
This study will help us know more about the composition of our nearest star. It will also give us more idea about metallicity.
WHAT IS METALLICITY?
Metallicity is a property. It shows us what amount of heavier elements sun is made of, other than hydrogen and helium. This is a very important factor as CNO cycle neutrinos depend on the content of CNO elements.
However, in other heavier stars, CNO cycle is an essential process for nuclear fusion. So, if we can know what this CNO cycle is like in the sun, we can know a lot about the other stars.
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