(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have proposed the concept of flying a neutrino observatory into orbit around the sun to get a better idea of what’s going on in the solar core.
Fortunately for scientists, the nuclear reactions that are constantly taking place in the core of the Sun, when it fuses hydrogen into helium, release a non-stop stream of neutrinos. Neutrinos are tiny, ghostly particles that almost never interact with matter.
Giant detectors have been built on Earth to catch random neutrinos. But our observatories here are fundamentally limited because our planet is so far from the Sun. And what if you take a neutrino observatory into space?
A group of astronomers has come up with a mission concept that will make it possible. The main advantage of placing a neutrino observatory in space is the ability to get closer to the Sun.
If we flew the same distance as the Parker Solar Probe, the observatory would encounter a thousand times more neutrinos than the same detector on Earth. An even closer approach to the Sun can increase this number by more than 10,000 times.
Such a stream of neutrinos will provide an unprecedented insight into nuclear processes in the nucleus. And by orbiting the Sun, the spacecraft will have another advantage: it will look for any asymmetries or differences in the Sun’s neutrino flux, which would be a hint of the presence of dark matter or other exotic processes.
On the other hand, placing a neutrino observatory in space would require layers of thick shielding to block out cosmic rays and other high-energy particles that could mimic the neutrino signal. Placing such a large weight in space will certainly be a challenge.
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