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Further Evidence Suggestive of a Solar Influence on Nuclear Decay Rates

Abstract

Recent analyses of nuclear decay data show evidence of variations suggestive of a solar influence. Analyses of datasets acquired at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) both show evidence of an annual periodicity and of periodicities with sidereal frequencies in the neighborhood of 12.25 year−1 (at a significance level that we have estimated to be 10−17). It is notable that this implied rotation rate is lower than that attributed to the solar radiative zone, suggestive of a slowly rotating solar core. This leads us to hypothesize that there may be an “inner tachocline” separating the core from the radiative zone, analogous to the “outer tachocline” that separates the radiative zone from the convection zone. The Rieger periodicity (which has a period of about 154 days, corresponding to a frequency of 2.37 year−1) may be attributed to an r-mode oscillation with spherical-harmonic indices l=3,m=1, located in the outer tachocline. This suggests that we may test the hypothesis of a solar influence on nuclear decay rates by searching BNL and PTB data for evidence of a “Rieger-like” r-mode oscillation, with l=3,m=1, in the inner tachocline. The appropriate search band for such an oscillation is estimated to be 2.00 – 2.28 year−1. We find, in both datasets, strong evidence of a periodicity at 2.11 year−1. We estimate that the probability of obtaining these results by chance is 10−12.

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Correspondence to P. A. Sturrock.

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Sturrock, P.A., Fischbach, E. & Jenkins, J.H. Further Evidence Suggestive of a Solar Influence on Nuclear Decay Rates. Sol Phys 272, 1 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-011-9807-5

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Keywords

  • Nuclear physics
  • Solar structure