Researchers Find What Actually Powers The Sun
August 30, 2014 05:47 PM EDT
Researchers earlier believed that the power of sun comes largely from the fusion of protons into helium, however now that belief is proven.
A team of international researchers has detected neutrinos buried deep below the mountains of central Italy, streaming from the heart of the sun. The neutrinos are ghostly particles that interact only very reluctantly with matter-streaming from the heart of the sun, researchers added.
Although other solar neutrinos have been detected before, these are particularly the ones that come from the key proton-proton fusion reaction - first part of a chain of reactions that provide 99 percent of sun's power.
The study further found that the sun is a significant steady power source.
Neutrinos take only 8 minutes to get from the sun's core to Earth, so the rate of neutrino production that the team detected reflects the amount of heat the sun is producing today, Huffington Post noted.
"This is direct proof of the stability of the sun over the past 100,000 years or so," added team member Andrea Pocar of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in the press release.
"They did a stellar job in doing this-incredibly impressive," Steve Biller of the University of Oxford and U.K. spokesperson for the SNO+ neutrino detector under construction in Canada, who was not involved in the new work, said. "They're peeling back the branches to get to the trunk of the main process."
Findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.