Scientists were able to create a miniature version of a supernova shock wave in a lab, and it seems that it will solve a problem we’ve been dealing with for quite a long time in the space.
How the shock waves are created?
When stars die, and they explode into supernovas, they also create shock waves. These waves surround the plasma. The shock waves come with cosmic rays – highly energetic particles – and releases them into the universe. All of these waves act like particle accelerators, thing that push these particles out so fast that they almost reach the speed of light. But scientists don’t really understand how and why the shock waves make these particles to accelerate.
According to Frederico Fiuza, a senior staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, all of these systems are fascinating. Still, they are so far away that they can’t really study them. They need to bring them to Earth in the form of supernova remnants. He added that “We are not trying to make supernova remnants in the lab, but we can learn more about the physics of astrophysical shocks there and validate models.”
The team of researchers worked on creating a diffuse shock wave that could be able to mimic the shocks which come with the supernova. At the National Ignition Facility, they shot lasers at carbon sheets, in order to create two plasma flows. When they collided, they created a shock wave. According to their statement, it happened “in conditions similar to a supernova remnant shock.” They observed the entire thing with the help of optical and X-ray technology.