Journal of Fusion Energy

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 141–144 | Cite as

Observational Confirmation of the Sun’s CNO Cycle

  • Michael MozinaEmail author
  • Hilton Ratcliffe
  • O. Manuel


Measurements on \(\gamma\)-rays from a solar flare in Active Region 10039 on 23 July 2002 with the RHESSI spacecraft spectrometer indicate that the CNO cycle occurs at the solar surface, in electrical discharges along closed magnetic loops. At the two feet of the loop, H+ ions are accelerated to energy levels that surpass Coulomb barriers for the \(^{12}\hbox{C}(^{1}\hbox{H}, \gamma)^{13}\hbox{N}\hbox{ and }^{14}\hbox{N}(^{1}\hbox{H}, \gamma)^{15}\hbox{O}\) reactions. First X-rays appear along the discharge path. Next annihilation of \(\beta^{+}\)-particles from 13N and 15O (t1/2=10 m and 2 m) produce bright spots of 0.511 MeV \(\gamma\)’s at the loop feet. As 13C increases from \(\beta^{+}\)-decay of 13N, the \(^{13}\hbox{C}(\alpha, \hbox{n})^{16}\hbox{O}\) reaction produces neutrons and then the 2.2 MeV emission line appears from n-capture on 1H. These results suggest that the CNO cycle changed the 15N/14N ratio in the solar wind and at the solar surface over geologic time, and this ratio may contain an important historical record of climate changes related to sunspot activity.


CNO cycle H-fusion solar flare electrical activity \(\gamma\)-rays climate N-15 C-13. 



Support from the University of Missouri-Rolla and the Foundation for Chemical Research, Inc. (FCR) are gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to the scientists—Drs. Robert Lin, Sam Krucker, Gordon J. Hurford, and David M. Smith (University of California at Berkeley), Drs. R. J. Murphy and G. H. Share (NRL), Dr. X.-M. Hua (L-3 Communications Analytics Corporation), Dr. Richard A. Schwartz (NASA/GSFC), and Dr. Benzion Kozlovsky (Tel Aviv University)—for allowing spectroscopic data of the 23 July 2002 solar flare event to be animated and posted at The results are shown in an abbreviated form in Figure 2


  1. 1.
    Manuel O. K., Ninham B. W. and Friberg S. E. (2002) J. Fusion Energy 21:193–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bethe Hans (1939) Phys. Rev. 55:103zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Burbidge E. M., Burbidge G. R., Fowler W. A. and Hoyle F. (1957) Rev. Mod. Phys. 29:547–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Davis R. Jr. (1955) Phys. Rev. 97:766–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Davis R. Jr., Harmer D. S. and Hoffman K. C. (1968) Phys. Rev. Lett. 20:1205–1209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Q. R. Ahmad, et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 011301, 6 pp (2002)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kerridge J.F. (1975). Science 188:162–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kerridge J.F. (1993) Rev. Geophys. 31:423–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kim J. S., Kim Y., Marti K. and Kerridge J. F. (1995). Nature 375:383–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Becker R. H. (1980) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 50:189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geiss J. and Boschler P. (1982) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 46:529–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Manuel O. and Hwaung G. (1983). Meteoritics 18:209–222Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    O. Manuel, in Oliver K. Manuel (Ed), Proceedings of the 1999 ACS Symposium on the Origin of Elements in the Solar System: Implications for Post-1957 Observations Klurwer/Plenum Publishers, NY, pp. 279–287, 2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Toth P. (1977). Nature 270:159–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Manuel O. K. and Sabu D. D. (1977). Science 195:208–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    M. Mozina, “The surface of the Sun”,
  17. 17.
    O. Manuel, S. Kamat, and M. Mozina, in Eric J. Lerner and Jose B. Almeida (eds.), Proceedings First Crisis in Cosmology Conf. (AIP, Melville, NY, in press, 2005)
  18. 18.
    S. Lefebvre and A. Kosovichev, “Changes in subsurface stratification of the Sun with the 11-year activity cycle”, Ap. J., 633, L149-L (2005).
  19. 19.
    Manuel O., Miller E. and Katragada A. (2001) J. Fusion Energy 20:197–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    NASA, “Fountains of fire illuminate solar mystery, overturn 30 year old theory”,
  21. 21.
    W. Steigerwald, “RHESSI observes 2.2 MeV line emission from a solar flare”, in SVS Animation 2750,

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emerging TechnologiesMt. ShastaUSA
  2. 2.Astronomical Society of South AfricaKloofSouth Africa
  3. 3.Nuclear ChemistryUniversity of MissouriRollaUSA

Personalised recommendations