Nuclear Astrophysics underground
M. Wiescher 1*
1 Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, University of Notre Dame
The field of nuclear astrophysics is concerned with the question of energy production and nucleosynthesis of the elements in quiescent and explosive stellar environments. Key reactions are charged particle interactions at low energy which determined the abundance distribution up to iron and play a critical role in providing the seed material for the nucleosynthesis of heavier elements. Charged particle reactions in quiescent stellar burning also determine the lifetime of the evolutionary burning stages of stars and therefore need to be studied at the characteristic temperatures of stellar burning. Because of the extremely low cross sections of these reactions direct measurements are not available except for two cases and the determination of stellar reaction rates relies largely on theoretical extrapolation of existing higher energy data. A number of new methoids have been developed over the last decade to improve the experimental data at low energies. Most notably experiments in a underground, cosmic ray background free environment have contributed greatly to our understanding of stellar hydrogen burning. This talk will summarize some of the critical experiments, which, coupled with the development of new theoretical methods addressed questions of energy production, nucleosynthesis, and neutrino production in stellar hydrogen burning environment. New pland for developing new facilities and methods will be presented.