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:

Funnyman Fry serves up a bit of self-awareness

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 31st October 2014

NATIONAL treasure Stephen Fry met fans in the Bodleian Library for a “hackathon”.

‘Lonely hearts club scam cost me £631’

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Friday 31st October 2014

A MAN left with a £631 phone bill after a relationship with a woman he met on a dating website is warning others to be wary.

Urban dancers prove they can move to the groove

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 31st October 2014

DANCE group Body Politic took Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre by storm as it rolled into town as part of its UK tour.

Mum of drugs death teenager in plea to MPs for law review

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 31st October 2014

A MOTHER who lost her 15-year-old daughter after she took Ecstasy urged MPs to review drug laws yesterday.

£10m community cash for West Way upgrade

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 31st October 2014

DEVELOPERS behind the planned Botley regeneration have revealed they will fund £10m towards community benefits if the controversial scheme goes ahead.

Height row flats' tree screening plan blasted

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 31st October 2014

UNIVERSITY bosses have put forward plans to screen a student flats development by Port Meadow with trees but ruled out reducing its height.

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