Found the engine that makes the stars shine in the universe, especially those that have a greater mass than that of the Sun and which are the most numerous. It was possible thanks to neutrinos, the particles capable of passing through matter and which from the heart of the Sun reached the detector of the international Borexino experiment, in the Gran Sasso National Laboratories of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN).
The result, which conquered the cover of the magazine Nature “is of historical value”, notes the Infn. “For the first time we know how and why the stars shine,” the ‘father’ of the Borexino experiment, Gianpaolo Bellini, of the University of Milan and a researcher at Infn, told ANSA. Borexino is an experiment that speaks Italian, with a contribution from Princeton University and whose main sponsor is the Infn, with the American National Science Foundation (NSF) and some German agencies. About three years ago, solar neutrino measurements had given a complete picture of the nuclear fusion reactions between protons that take place in the Sun and which produce 99% of the solar energy. “They are the reactions that produce temperatures of up to half a million degrees in the Sun and that prevent our star from imploding.”
It remained to discover the origin of the remaining 1% of the energy, generated by reactions between carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (NOC), and this is what the experiment managed to see today. If for the Sun this cycle has a secondary role, in the stars of great mass it is the most widespread.