The Fate of Solar Neutrinos

The history of attempts to reconcile the amount of neutrino flux arriving at the earth’s surface from the sun with the profile of fusion reactions occurring on the sun is recounted. Less than half the expected number of neutrinos is actually found, which has raised questions about the reliability of the method of detection used. It is pointed out that there is a key theoretical assumption which may be incorrect, however, namely that every fusion reaction necessarily leads to the emission of a single neutrino. While this assumption is amply verified for reactions taking place under normal laboratory conditions, arguments are presented that indicate that the situation could be significantly different at the high temperatures occurring in stellar atmospheres.


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