Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Universe, seen under the Gran Sasso mountain, seems to be older than expected

14.05.2004


Some nuclear fusion reactions inside stars occur more slowly than we thought and, as a consequence, stars themselves, as well as galaxies and the entire universe are a bit older than expected. This is what comes out from the last results of Luna experiment (Laboratory for Underground Nuclear astrophysics), settled by National Laboratories of Gran Sasso and realized in cooperation by Infn and Ruhr University in Bochum (Germany). The study, that will be published on the review Physics Letters B next June 17, has been published today on the website of the review. A second article has been accepted by the review Astronomy and Astrophysics.



Luna’s aim is the production of some reactions that occur inside stars, in particular in the Sun, and the measure of their velocity. In Luna, protons (which means hydrogen nuclei) are made collide against nitrogen nuclei: a reaction that leads to the formation of an oxygen nucleus with the contemporary emission of energy. “The great part of the energy emitted by our star derives from fusion reactions of four hydrogen nuclei that lead directly to the formation of a helium nucleus. But there is another process in consequence of that helium nuclei are produced and this process passes through the so-called carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle. Cycle velocity is determined by the slowest of the reactions that form it, the one that leads to an oxygen nucleus as a result of the fusion between an azote nucleus and a proton. That is to say the reaction studied by Luna”, explains Carlo Broggini, Luna coordinator.

Producing fusion between the nitrogen nucleus and a proton is not difficult itself, but a difficulty lies in obtaining it at the same energy it occurs in stars: a relatively low energy, thanks to which the phenomena is quite slow, corresponding to a very few reactions a day (a lucky case for our planet, because if these phenomena occurred rapidly, the Sun would have burned up its ‘fuel’ in a few time and this would have made life –as we know it -impossible). “In an ordinary laboratory settled on surface, the effects of the reaction studied by Luna would be totally hidden by similar, but much more abundant effects due to reactions caused by the cosmic rays rain that crashes into our planet without interruption. The Gran Sasso Laboratories are on the contrary located under 1.400 meters of rocks, which constitute an impenetrable barrier for almost all the particles coming from Space. Thanks to these particular conditions we could carry out our experiment”, says Carlo Broggini.


The result has been surprising: the carbon–nitrogen –oxygen cycle occurs two times more slowly than expected. “The most fascinating aspect of this study is that another estimate of Universe age flows from it. Actually, the age of the most ancient stars, those that form the so-called globular star clusters, is calculated on the base of the light spectra they emit, supposing we know the carbon–nitrogen–oxygen cycle’s velocity As this last one seems to be slower than previewed, the age of the globular star clusters’ has also been newly calculated and grown-up of about one billion years. As a consequence, in the light of Luna’s new data, the age of our Universe passes from the previous estimate of about 13 billions years to that of about 14 billions years” explains Eugenio Coccia, director of Gran Sasso National Laboratories.

Luna’s results offer also another information: neutrinos provided with high energy produced by carbon – nitrogen – oxygen cycle are the half part of what expected, because this last one is responsible of only the 0,8% of the energy emitted by the Sun (and not the 1,6%, as believed). This data is of great interest for astroparticles physicists engaged in experiments that are specifically focused on neutrinos of relatively high energy, as it is for example the experiment Borexino, which is in preparation at Gran Sasso National Laboratories, or the Japanese Kamland.

Carlo Broggini | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03702693

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Schicht- und Oberflächentechnik IST

nachricht Extremely close look at electron advances frontiers in particle physics
19.10.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury

19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications

19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>