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‘Soul of the sun’ detected for the first time by scientists

‘Soul of the sun’ detected for the first time by scientists thumbnail

Scientists have for the first time detected the solar neutrino particles forged in the sun’s heart that are eventually emitted into the galaxy as light.

More than 100 international scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst worked together using the Borexino detector in Italy to make the discovery, which provides humans with a peak into the process of nuclear fusion that is responsible for bathing the Earth with light. The findings were first reported in the latest issue of the Nature journal.

Although it only takes eight minutes for light from the sun to hit Earth, there is a substantially longer process that takes place before that can happen. After the solar neutrinos are formed in the sun’s core, another 100,000 years must pass before they make their way to the star’s surface and shoot out at the speed of light.

“The first step in the dominant fusion process in the sun starts when two protons in its core fuse into a deuteron, creating a [proton-proton] neutrino,” wrote Nola Redd at “Other neutrinos are created in subsequent steps of the process, several of which have been detected, but the first-step neutrinos remained elusive.”

Now that these neutrinos have been detected, though, scientists are hoping to learn even more about the sun’s energy-forming processes.

“[The neutrinos] are the most direct confirmation that nuclear fusion is the source of energy [for the sun],” said Wick Haxton of University of California, Berkeley, to the website.

Once the particles shoot out of the sun, they make their way to the Earth extremely quickly, showering every square inch of the planet’s surface with up to 420 billion every second.

“By comparing the two different types of solar energy radiated, as neutrinos and as surface light, we obtain experimental information about the sun’s thermodynamic equilibrium over about a 100,000-year timescale,” said university scientist, and international team member, Dr. Andrea Pocar, to the Daily Mail.

“If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, with these neutrinos, we are looking not just at its face, but directly into its core. We have glimpsed the sun’s soul.”


11 Comments on "‘Soul of the sun’ detected for the first time by scientists"

  1. Norm on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 12:35 pm 

    Hey, one of you authorized users needs to post this article:

    Its an energy development, its your government refusing to use up the nuclear waste properly. Cause they want to throw all the fuel rods into a disposal pit.

    The corn-syrup Amerikans, are grossly nuclear illiterate. In reality those rods still have 98% of their energy in them, and in a proper reactor design, the energy can be tapped and you can get another 50x energy out of those rods. So, its not ‘nuclear waste’ at all, its ‘underutilized fuel’. As stupid as calling illegal aliens ‘undocumented immigrants’.

    See, here is one example, of working upon a proper design, except your government is busy throwing all the fuel away:

    If anybody wants to get nuclear literate, the goal is to ‘burn up the minor actinide fraction’. I.e. to get energy by using up the nuclear waste. Which also turns it into isotopes of lead, far less reactive. Today’s water reactors are the stupidest designs imagineable. Its like a car that gets 0.04 miles per gallon.

    But hey, don’t post it, cause this website isn’t for energy issues. Its for smart people to brag that they aren’t having any kids.

  2. Plantagenet on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 12:36 pm 

    I’m disappointed to see Dr. Pocar pandering to the unscientific masses by talking about the sun’s “soul.” The sun doesn’t have a “soul.” Souls are a purely imaginary religious fantasy. The sun has a core where fusion reactions occur and neutrinos are emitted.

  3. Norm on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 12:37 pm 

    Something wrong with this ‘sun’ article? A neutrino does not take 100,000 years to exit the core of the sun. A neutrino passes thru everything and is undetectable. A neutrino exits the sun, at the speed of light. Somebody tell me why the author wrote it otherwise? It might be photons that take time to exit the sun, cause they bounce around inside. I heard more like 10,000 years. But whats an order of magnitude, who cares about an order of magnitude.

    Physicist joke: Lets make a neutrino bomb. Why is it funny? Cause the neutrinos cant hit anything, they are undetectable, so if you had such a device, nothing would happen.

  4. Makati1 on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 7:30 pm 

    Norm, I suppose you are an ‘expert’ on neutrinos and how the sun works. Why don’t you write an e-mail to them and explain it all?

    As for how it might take 100,000 years to get out? Huge gravity…

  5. Norm on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 11:27 pm 

    Grow up, Makita. I did not say I am an expert. I said what I know. That us why I did not say more.

  6. Dave Thompson on Mon, 1st Sep 2014 3:39 am 

    To heck with the “soul of the sun”, soon we will know if we are living in a computer driven hologram.

  7. JuanP on Mon, 1st Sep 2014 8:33 am 

    I refuse to read such a foolishly titled article. First the God Particle and now this crap. Please keep religious and spiritual ideas were they belong, far away from science.
    The Sun has NO soul. And I don’t believe souls, in general, exist, either.

  8. nemteck on Mon, 1st Sep 2014 10:49 am 

    “We have glimpsed the sun’s soul.” What is the definition of a soul? Has an animal a soul? No says the catholic church. Has a human a soul? Yes say all churches. How can one glimpsed at a human soul? Has the moon a soul?

  9. synapsid on Mon, 1st Sep 2014 3:42 pm 


    You’re right, in essence: photons take thousands of years to make it from the core to the photosphere but neutrinos zip right out, though not quite at the speed of light–they do have a tiny mass.

    When a massive star goes supernova the energy loss represented by the rapid neutrino exit contributes to the star’s inability to resist its own gravity, and there’s a general collapse followed by a bounce that blows the star apart. Them neutrinos is speedy all right.

    Mak: Gravity has no noticeable effect on neutrinos in the Sun. Near a black hole, maybe.

  10. Makati1 on Mon, 1st Sep 2014 8:27 pm 

    synapsid, I am not a physics major with current knowledge of the field. I was just offering a thought on the subject. After some research and study, I see that I confused neutrinos with photons. I am more familiar with photon torpedoes…lol. “Live long and prosper!”

  11. clueless on Wed, 3rd Sep 2014 5:41 am 

    At least our Sun has soul, America has none. (joke).

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