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CNO Neutrinos found for the first time

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  • CNO Neutrinos found for the first time


    Physicists Detect Solar CNO Neutrinos for First Time

    | For most of their existence, stars are fuelled by the fusion of hydrogen into helium. Fusion proceeds via two processes that are well understood theoretically: the proton-proton (p-p) chain and the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) cycle. Neutrinos that are emitted along such processes in the solar core are the only direct probe of the deep interior of the Sun. A complete spectroscopic study of neutrinos from the p-p chain, which produces about 99% of the solar energy, has been performed previously. Now, physicists from the Borexino Collaboration report the direct observation of neutrinos produced in the CNO cycle in the Sun. This experimental evidence was obtained using a large-volume neutrino detector called Borexino, which is located at the underground Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.

    On August 31, 2012, a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the Sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The CME traveled at over 900 miles per second. It did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, with a glancing blow, causing aurora to appear on the night of September 3. Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    “Neutrinos are really the only direct probe science has for the core of stars, including the Sun, but they are exceedingly difficult to measure,” said Professor Andrea Pocar, a particle physicist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    “As many as 420 billion of them hit every square inch of the Earth’s surface per second, yet virtually all pass through without interacting.”

    “We can only detect them using very large detectors with exceptionally low background radiation levels.”

    The Borexino detector lies deep under the Apennine Mountains in central Italy at the INFN’s Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso.

    It detects neutrinos as flashes of light produced when neutrinos collide with electrons in 300-tons of ultra-pure organic scintillator.

    Its great depth, size and purity make Borexino a unique detector for this type of science, alone in its class for low-background radiation.

    Until its latest detections, the Borexino Collaboration had successfully measured components of the ‘proton-proton’ solar neutrino fluxes, helped refine neutrino flavor-oscillation parameters, and most impressively, even measured the first step in the cycle: the very low-energy p-p neutrinos.

    The Borexino researchers dreamed of expanding the science scope to also look for the CNO neutrinos – in a narrow spectral region with particularly low background – but that prize seemed out of reach.

    However, they believed CNO neutrinos might yet be revealed using the additional purification steps and methods they had developed to realize the exquisite detector stability required.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .


    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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