NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory survey of nearby sun-like stars suggests there is nearly three times more neon in the sun and local universe than previously believed. If true, this would solve a critical problem with understanding how the sun works.
"We use the sun to test how well we understand stars and, to some extent, the rest of the universe," said Jeremy Drake of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "But in order to understand the sun, we need to know exactly what it is made of," he added.
It is not well known how much neon the sun contains. This is critical information for creating theoretical models of the sun. Neon atoms, along with carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, play an important role in how quickly energy flows from nuclear reactions in the suns core to its edge, where it then radiates into space.
Megan Watzke | EurekAlert!
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