The nuclear fusion processes in the sun are not clearly understood, but solar geophysicists Ray Davis, of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Ed Fireman, of the Smithsonian Institution, are improving on physical models of solar processes by studying the solar neutrino flux. They are doing this by capturing neutrinos and analyzing them with apparatus located a mile below the earth's surface in the Homestake gold mine in South Dakota.
This study has led recently to a few surprise findings related to fundamental properties of both the solar system and matter. The flux rate of solar neutrinos is closely tied to the fusion rates and thus the solar system release of energy. The rates are also a measure of the ultimate stability of matter in the universe, the ultimate loss of mass.