Astronomers continue to study the Sun. Much of life on Earth would not be possible without it, and even small changes on it can greatly affect life as we know it. Studying the S un can be expensive though. However, a new way to study the Sun could be less expensive, which would help astronomers a lot.
A collaboration that started in 2009 could change the way astronomers study the Sun. This would be through an inexpensive tabletop device which would study how neutrinos work. This device could also be used in studying how the Sun works.
The collaboration has been made by physicist Peter Sturrock and Ephraim Fischbach, another physicist from Purdue University. The device that they have come up with would make it easier to study neutrinos. Sturrock said that neutrinos are much easier to detect using only a few micrograms of radioactive material.
The study of neutrinos is important, as it could be a way of studying how the Sun works from the inside. Neutrinos though are elusive, which is why there is much equipment that is needed in order to detect it. Neutrinos that escape the Sun have been passing through the Earth constantly, though only few stay long enough to be studied.
As of now the best way to study neutrinos is the Super-Kamiokande, which is a very elaborate neutrino detector, according to Stanford News. This neutrino detector is deep below ground and has a tank filled with 50,000 tons of water. This tank has photo-multiplier tubes around it. This tank is used to try and study neutrinos as it travels through the water, creating what is known as an optical shock wave as they interact with electrons.
Sturrock has been studying how radioactive materials decay. Through his study he has found that the fluctuations found on it are similar to the ones from Super-Kamiokande, as Science Daily reports. This might be because neutrinos coming from the Sun are interacting with the radioactive element as it decays. If ever this is proven with more tests, a working tabletop detector could be made, which would be less expensive than the Super-Kamiokande.
A new way to study the Sun could be less expensive, as research continues about neutrinos. This could be valuable to scientists as they try to understand how the Sun works, and could also lower the cost of its study. A new type of star called pumpkin stars have also been discovered by NASA.