However, research by a team of scientists led by a Michigan State University physicist has researchers rethinking that.
Scientists had long thought that nuclear reactions within the crust, the thick, solid, outermost layer of the star, contributed to the heating of the star's surface.
However, writing in the journal Nature, Hendrik Schatz and colleagues report results from theoretical calculations that identify previously unknown layers where nuclear reactions within the crust cause rapid neutrino cooling. Neutrinos are elementary particles created through radioactive decay that pass quickly through matter.
"These cooling layers are pretty shallow beneath the surface," said Schatz, a professor of physics and astronomy. "If heat from deeper within the star comes up, it hits this layer and never makes it to the surface."
Schatz said this discovery produces more questions than answers.
"This completely changes the way we think about the question of the star's hot surface," he said. "It's a big puzzle now."
On the sub-atomic level, the team found that the process is greatly affected by the shape of the reacting nuclei.
"Many nuclei are round, and that suppresses the neutrino cooling," said Sanjib Gupta, co-author and faculty member at IIT Ropar in India. "In this case, the nuclei are predicted by theorists to be 'deformed,' more football-shaped."
This study also points to the discovery potential of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. FRIB will be a new U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national user facility built on the MSU campus. It is exactly these types of nuclei that researchers could examine in the facility.
This work was enabled by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics. JINA is a National Science Foundation Physics Frontiers Center on Nuclear Astrophysics that promotes collaboration between astrophysicists and nuclear physicists. MSU is one of the core institutions of JINA.
Schatz's co-authors were Gupta; Peter Möller from Los Alamos National Lab; Mary Beard and Michael Wiescher from the University of Notre Dame; Edward Brown, Alex Deibel, Laurens Keek, and Rita Lau from MSU; Leandro Gasques from the Universidade de Sao Paulo; William Hix from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee; and Andrew Steiner from the University of Washington.
Tom Oswald | EurekAlert!
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy