The Sun Is Experiencing a Second Fusion
From popular mechanics
With a special new measurement, scientists have proven that our sun makes multiple fusions.
Neutrinos have the most important evidence, but we cannot easily see the different types.
The sun is small, and this finding could help scientists understand how stars enlarge.
Scientists say there is new evidence that our sun is experiencing a second full mode of fusion, as indicated by the presence of neutrinos in a very hard-to-find energy range. This means that the sun doubles its output by harmonizing on different wavelengths.
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The Sun is quite small for a star, and stars of different sizes have different types of fusion reactions at their nuclei. Universe Today explains:
“Theoretically, the dominant form of fusion in the sun should be the fusion of protons that produce helium from hydrogen. Known as the pp chain, it is the simplest response stars can produce. For larger stars with hotter and denser nuclei, a more powerful reaction known as the CNO cycle is the dominant source of energy. This reaction uses hydrogen in a reaction cycle with carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to produce helium. "
However, it is difficult to find evidence of different types of reactions. Step inside neutrinos, light, neutral subatomic particles that can pass through matter with almost no evidence. This is due to their physical properties and the fact that they respond to the weak rather than the strong force of physics in our universe. (In the colloquial sense, the broadest extension of the weak interaction of neutrinos is something like dark matter, which scientists believe is constantly mixing around us without disturbing our matter.)
For example, due to the development of neutrino detection technology, the way we discovered neutrinos was not in order of their frequency. The first neutrinos we could find represent an unusual chemical reaction with much higher energy than many other reactions. That makes sense - the highest energy neutrinos are most likely to make a mistake large enough to appear on something made by humans using materials that react primarily in the area of strong forces.
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The CNO cycle mentioned above, on the other hand, is one of the most difficult neutrinos to observe. Scientists have known for years that solar energy is mainly due to pp chain reactions, but they cannot say for sure if there are CNO cycle processes found in much larger stars. And identifying them is procedurally difficult, explains Universe Today:
“One of the biggest challenges in detecting CNO neutrinos is that their signal tends to be buried in terrestrial neutrino noise. Nuclear fusion does not occur naturally on Earth, but minor radioactive decay of terrestrial rocks can trigger events in a neutrino detector that are similar to CNO neutrino detections. "
To solve this problem, scientists made a coin sorter with neutrino noise that shakes out the large, heavy quarters, so to speak, and leaves the finer, less heavy pennies behind. With their new noise filter tool they have the first sound measurement of the solar combination of the CNO cycle and pp chain reactions.
And the scientists say this could pave the way for a more nuanced understanding of how small and large stars share common reactions in different amounts when size and circumstances change.
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