The Sun emits electron-neutrinos, elementary particles of matter that have no electric charge and very little mass, created in vast numbers by the thermonuclear reactions that fuel our parent star. Since the early 1970s, several experiments have detected neutrinos arriving on Earth, but they have found only a fraction of the number expected from detailed theories of energy production in the Sun. This meant there was either something wrong with our theories of the Sun, or our understanding of neutrinos. It turns out that our theories of how the Sun is powered look like being correct according to a team of scientists from the UK, the US and Canada whose latest results from research into solar neutrinos were announced on Saturday [20 April 2002]. What`s more, these ghostly particles have `chameleon` type capabilities, changing from one type of neutrino into another on their journey from the Sun to Earth.
The scientists used data taken entirely from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory [SNO] in Canada which shows without doubt that the number of observed solar neutrinos is only a fraction of the total emitted from the Sun - clear evidence that they have chameleon type properties and change type en-route to Earth.
Says Project Director Art McDonald of Queen`s University, Canada, "These new results show in a clear, simple and accurate way that solar neutrinos change their type. The total number of neutrinos we observe is in excellent agreement with calculations of the nuclear reactions powering the Sun. The SNO team is really excited because these measurements enable neutrino properties to be defined with much greater certainty in fundamental theories of elementary particles."
Gill Ormrod | alphagalileo
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