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References Introduction The sun is shining from a blue sky, delivering a thousand watts of power to every square meter on the earth. It has been doing so since time immemorial, with no notable changes. The only reasonable energy source that we know of, that can keep the sun going like that, is nuclear fusion.
One unavoidable by-product of fusion is a copious flux of particles called neutrinos. Neutrino detectors on earth do find neutrinos coming from the sun, and the observed flux is of the right order of magnitude, confirming that fusion is actually taking place in the sun.
But when detailed calculations of the expected neutrino flux were confronted with measurements, about 30 years ago, a significant discrepancy was found. Only about half of the expected neutrinos could be found. This anomaly persisted until quite recently, and is known as the "solar neutrino problem".
As with many other anomalies in science, creationists e. OardSnellingSarfati have invoked the solar neutrino problem as evidence of more fundamental problems in orthodox "uniformitarian" science.
It is argued, in brief, that since the neutrino flux is wrong, there can't be enough fusion in the sun, in which case the sun can't keep shining for billions of years, so it must be recently created. In this FAQI will first describe the standard view of the sun's internal workings, and then go on to neutrinos, what they are, and what we expect of them from the sun.
After that I will discuss various possible solutions to the solar neutrino problem. Finally, the creationist arguments concerning solar neutrinos, and other solar anomalies, real and fictional, will be treated. This final sectionwith answers to creationist claims, is rather short; the bulk of the faq is in the lengthy introductory sections, containing all the background knowledge needed to understand the answers.
How does the sun work? We have today a coherent picture of the sun's internal structure and function, supported by several independent lines of evidence. But this solar model is a fairly recent construction, and the supporting evidence even more so.
History Speculations about the nature of the sun are as old as recorded history, but I shall not dwell on the more fanciful versions of old, as they are not pertinent to the solar neutrino issue.
If we restrict ourselves to serious study of the sun, the midth-century is a good place to start, with three important discoveries: The concept of energy, and the associated thermodynamic machinery, leading to the realization that the solar energy flow has to come from somewhere.
The discovery that the sun is not unique, but has counterparts among the stars. Every star is a sun. The discovery through spectroscopy that the sun is made up of the standard chemical elements, same as we find here on earth, and that it glows with a temperature of around degrees C.
The issue of where the sun's energy came from turned out to be a thorny one. It was rapidly realized that none of our terrestrial energy sources would be adequate.
If the sun, for example, consisted of some fuel that could burn, it would burn out in a matter of centuries, nowhere near enough to illuminate all of recorded history, and never mind the long prehistory of the earth. One of the leading theories of the formation of the sun was and is the 18th-century nebular theory of Kant and Laplace, in which the sun formed through the gravitational contraction of a large gas cloud.
The potential gravitational energy of the cloud would be released as heat, as it contracted, and Hermann Helmholtz realized that this was a possible energy source for the sun, provided that it was still in the contracting phase.
William Thomson better known as Lord Kelvin elaborated and promulgated this theory during the last decades of the 19th century. It was clear, however, that this energy source, while ample by human standards, couldn't last forever. Various calculations gave limits on the order of a few tens of millions of years of steady sunshine: This age was troublesome for many; it was too long for Biblical literalists, but too short for geologists and biologists, who could see that the earth and its fauna had a far longer history.
Physicists like Lord Kelvin did not, however, care about the opinion of either literalists or biologists, so their arguments had little impact.
But this age for the sun was troublesome also in astronomy; the sun was only one star among many, and if it was assumed, reasonably enough, that all stars worked the same way, contradictions followed.The effect of thermal conductivity of the absorber plate of a solar collector on the performance of a thermo-siphon solar water heater is found by using the alternative simulation system.
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