Tuesday 30 September, 2014

Lasers recreate supernova explosion in lab!

Published On: Mon, Jun 2nd, 2014 | Physics | By BioNews

Scientists have now devised a method to study supernova explosions, a stellar explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy, by recreating them in the laboratory with the help of lasers.

Researchers used laser beams 60,000 billion times more powerful than a laser pointer to recreate scaled supernova explosions in the laboratory as a way of investigating one of the most energetic events in the Universe.

“It may sound surprising that a table-top laboratory experiment that fits inside an average room can be used to study astrophysical objects that are light years across,” said Gianluca Gregori, a professor at Oxford University.

“In reality, the laws of physics are the same everywhere, and physical processes can be scaled from one to the other in the same way that waves in a bucket are comparable to waves in the ocean,” Gregori added.

Supernova explosions, triggered when the fuel within a star reignites or its core collapses, launch a detonation shock wave that sweeps through a few light years of space from the exploding star.

But not all such explosions are alike and some, such as Cassiopeia A, show puzzling irregular shapes made of knots and twists.

To recreate a supernova explosion in the laboratory, the team used the Vulcan laser facility at Rutherford Appleton Lab of Science and Technology Facilities Council in Britain.

“The experiment demonstrated that as the blast of the explosion passes through the grid it becomes irregular and turbulent just like the images from Cassiopeia,” Gregori added.

The findings appeared in the journal Nature Physics.

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