Supernovas are recreated in lab science project

Oxford Mail: 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

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:

Blog: Jayden Parkinson trial

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson

7:45am Thursday 24th July 2014

Follow our coverage of the verdicts in the Jayden Parkinson trial today and then the reaction

Verdict: Ben Blakeley guilty of murdering Jayden Parkinson

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson

4:22pm Thursday 24th July 2014

BEN Blakeley has been found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson.

Update: Buses terminating early due to city centre roadworks

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

10:07am Thursday 24th July 2014

BUS services will be terminating early until further notice after “severe” traffic delays hit Oxford city centre this morning .

Watch: New video of the proposed £75m Oxford railway and bus stations

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

THE future of Oxford’s train station is being unveiled today, including a new video, and has been hailed as a big step towards the city getting the integrated transport hub it needs.

Planning begins on city’s flood channel route

Oxford Mail: Allotments off Botley Road in Oxford inundated with flood water yesterday as levels kept rising                                             Picture: Lee Ingram

8:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

COUNCIL officials were taken around Oxford yesterday to look at potential routes for a new flood relief channel.

Posh boys join hip parade for charity

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

WATCHING 15 Oxford students sway and sing on the steps of the Radcliffe Camera to Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie is not an everyday sight.

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.

click2find

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