The Sun - Scientific Theories and Mysteries

About the sun, scientific theories for the unexplained mysteries of the sun's inner workings.

THE SUN

Theories and Mysteries: The complex proton-proton reaction also predicts nuclear by-products, notably the production of neutrinos. (A neutrino, one of the elementary atomic particles, has no mass or charge, but is an energy carrier.) These "ghost" particles, being electrically neutral, should pass unhampered through the sun and eventually reach the earth. Having no mass, neutrinos literally can pass through ordinary matter as if it didn't exist. Calculations estimate that billions of neutrinos pass through the human body each second without our knowing it.

In an attempt to discover more about neutrino loss from the sun, physicists placed huge tanks of cleaning fluid in mines deep underground. They hoped that, of the billions of billions of neutrinos passing through the tanks, one or two would strike the chlorine atoms every couple of days and cause an interaction.

Disturbingly, researchers have pretty much drawn a blank. Not wanting to believe that our basic theories of hydrogen fusion are wrong, scientists are now studying possibilities of error in the experiment or calculations. The case of the missing neutrinos has become one of the most perplexing in solar theory.

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