2021 Impact factor 3.131
Hadrons and Nuclei
Open Access
Eur. Phys. J. A 24, s2.167-s2.170 (2005)
DOI: 10.1140/epjad/s2005-04-042-x

Parity violation in astrophysics

C.J. Horowitz

Nuclear Theory Center and Department of Physics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA


(Received 15 October 2004 / Published online 08 February 2005)


Core collapse supernovae are gigantic explosions of massive stars that radiate 99% of their energy in neutrinos. This provides a unique opportunity for large scale parity or charge conjugation violation. Parity violation in a strong magnetic field could lead to an asymmetry in the neutrino radiation and recoil of the newly formed neutron star. Charge conjugation violation in the neutrino-nucleon interaction reduces the ratio of neutrons to protons in the neutrino driven wind above the neutron star. This is a problem for r-process nucleosynthesis in this wind. On earth, parity violation is an excellent probe of neutrons because the weak charge of a neutron is much larger than that of a proton. The Parity Radius Experiment (PREX) at Jefferson Laboratory aims to precisely measure the neutron radius of 208Pb with parity violating elastic electron scattering. This has many implications for astrophysics, including the structure of neutron stars, and for atomic parity nonconservation experiments.

PACS: 25.30.Bf Elastic electron scattering - 11.30.Er Charge conjugation, parity, time reversal, and other discrete symmetries - 26.60+c Nuclear matter aspects of neutron stars - 97.60.Bw Supernovae

© Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2005