“Physics bedrock cracks, sun shines in” says that solar neutrinos oscillate between different flavors on the trip to Earth and that those taking a longer path have more time to oscillate into kinds of neutrinos that the sun doesn’t produce. Do the scientists note a variation in neutrino types based on the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit? When Earth is closest to the sun, electron neutrinos would have less time to oscillate. Douglas Nelson
Salt Lake City, Utah About 7 percent fewer solar neutrinos hit detectors when Earth is furthest from the sun, compared with when it’s closest, says Arthur B. McDonald, director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Ontario. However, whether the Earth-sun distance also influences the oscillation of the sun’s electron neutrinos into other flavors remains unknown. “It is something we will analyze for in the future,” McDonald says.
–P. Weiss