Supernovas are recreated in lab science project

Prof Gianluca Gregori, of Oxford University’s department of physics, helped conduct the research

Prof Gianluca Gregori, of Oxford University’s department of physics, helped conduct the research

First published in News

SCIENTISTS have created their own supernova explosions – in the comfort of their laboratory.

Supernovas are stars hit by a sudden reignition of nuclear fusion or those which suffer gravitational collapse at their cores. The resulting force triggers a shockwave that is one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Researchers have been studying the phenomenon at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, at Chilton, near Didcot.

Using beams billions of times more powerful than laser pointers, they have created small-scale supernova explosions in the laboratory to study them.

Three laser beams were focused onto a carbon rod about as thick as a strand of hair, in a low-density gas-filled chamber.

The resultant heat – several million degrees C, caused the rod to explode and the blast to expand – replicating the gas surrounding a supernova.

Prof Gianluca Gregori, of Oxford University’s department of physics, said: “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.”

The research investigates the relationship between turbulence and magnetic fields created at the birth of the universe.

Our top stories:

FOOTBALL: Mike Ford is relishing challenge after taking over as Banbury United boss

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Former Oxford United captain Mike Ford is relishing a return to management with Banbury United, after spending more than a year out of the game.

Jury told fire started because businessman thought best man was having affair with wife

Oxford Mail:

8:29am Friday 22nd May 2015

A HOUSE fire that forced people to jump for their lives was started by a businessman who accused his best man of having an affair with his wife, a jury heard.

UPDATE: Missing woman Rachel Selby from Banbury found safe

Oxford Mail:

3:16pm Friday 22nd May 2015

A WOMAN who went missing from Banbury has been found, police said

Person hit by train between Slough and Reading likely to affect Oxford rail services to London

Oxford Mail: A First Great Western High Speed Train

3:24pm Friday 22nd May 2015

TRAINS from Oxford could be disrupted after a person was hit by a train between Slough and Reading.

Teenagers arrested after robbery in Hythe Bridge Street

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:23pm Friday 22nd May 2015

TWO teenagers have been arrested after a robbery in Hythe Bridge Street.

Oxford United stepping up interest in striker Ryan Taylor

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 22nd May 2015

Ryan Taylor remains firmly on Oxford United’s radar despite the signing of Kemar Roofe, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:15am Fri 6 Jun 14

livid99 says...

Probably best not to do that - might be dangerous.
I once had a detention for trying to set fire to my chemistry book with a piece of sodium while not wearing my safety spectacles, but trying to make a supernova sound a bit more dangerous than what I did.
Probably best not to do that - might be dangerous. I once had a detention for trying to set fire to my chemistry book with a piece of sodium while not wearing my safety spectacles, but trying to make a supernova sound a bit more dangerous than what I did. livid99
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree