Belfast Telegraph

Supernova explosions created in Queen's University Belfast lab

By Linda Stewart

Table-top supernova explosions have been created in a laboratory by scientists from Queen's University Belfast.

They used laser beams to recreate the scaled explosions as a way of investigating one of the most energetic events in the universe.

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 in just a few hundred years.

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

To investigate what may cause these peculiar shapes, an international team led by Queen's University and Oxford University scientists devised a method of studying supernovae explosions in the laboratory instead of observing them in space.

A report by the team is published in Nature Physics.

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