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Weakly interacting massive particles and solar oscillations

Nature volume 321, pages 226229 (15 May 1986) | Download Citation

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Abstract

If the Sun were to contain even a minute mass fraction of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), there could be a significant influence on its central thermal structure. In particular, a relative concentration as small as 10−11 by number may lower the central temperature sufficiently to bring the predicted electron neutrino detection rate into agreement with observation1–6. Helioseismology7,8 provides a means for an independent test of the validity of this and other proposed resolutions of the solar neutrino problem. Theoretically, it is the low-degree g modes that are most sensitive to conditions in the core, the only region where substantial deviations from so-called standard solar models occur. Indeed, solar models with WIMPs have a g-mode period spacing that is markedly different from that of other solar models. Therefore g-mode observations hold the promise of a sensitive test, although unfortunately their current interpretation is fraught with difficulties. The best test currently available involves instead the frequency separation of low-degree p modes with like (nl) (where n and l are respectively the order and degree of the mode). Standard solar models produce p-mode separations somewhat larger than those observed. Conventional attempts to resolve the solar neutrino problem9,10 make the situation worse; in some cases, grossly so. We show that, in contrast, a relevant WIMP model predicts p-mode separations that are reduced by 10%; this is consistent with the observations.

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Author notes

    • John Faulkner
    •  & D. O. Gough

    Permanent addresses: Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA (J.F.); Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK (D.O.G.).

Affiliations

  1. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Bombay 400 005, India

    • John Faulkner
    • , D. O. Gough
    •  & M. N. Vahia

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https://doi.org/10.1038/321226a0

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