For those who actually like blowing stuffs up, another career path to Mythbusters host or a minerals geologist has unwrapped. Astrophysicists have replicated the supernova explosion that produced Cassiopeia A, a mission so thought-provoking it required assistances from 12 organizations to make it happen. Oxford University's Professor Gianluca Gregori, one of the writers of the report issued in Nature Physics, says “The laws of physics are the same everywhere, and physical processes can be scaled from one to the other in the same way that waves in a bucket are comparable to waves in the ocean. So our experiments can complement observations of events such as the Cassiopeia A supernova explosion.” While having “replicated a supernova” on your CV has its attractions, the motivation for the study was the anomaly of the magnetic fields around Cassiopeia A, and the behavior of the material ejected in the explosion. As the paper notes, “Observations of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A reveal the presence of magnetic fields about 100 times stronger than those in the surrounding interstellar medium.”
Image Credit: NASA/Spitzer Space Telescope.
Light from the supernova that triggered Cassiopeia A must have touched Earth 300 years ago, which would have prepared it the only supernova to be seen in the Milky Way since the creation of the telescope. Though, there are no archives of observations at the time. Astrophysicists have been making up for misplaced time, with the growing nebula having concerned much attention since. TAs the brightest radio object outside the solar system, the supernova leftover interests plenty of attention.
The detonation threw off a shell of gasses increasing at a speed of 4000-6000km/s with a temperature of 30 million °C but these are not increasing out evenly. As an alternative twisty shapes are fashioned. It is supposed that the originator star for the explosion was so huge that it threw off smokes of materials prior to the central explosion, just as huge star Eta Carinae has done more lately. The quicker moving material from the explosion itself is running into the uneven circumstellar cloud, making disorder as it meets thicker clumps. Some other supernova leftovers look alike, while others are considerably more even, seemingly because they did not discard the pre-explosion clouds. Keen to check the theory Gregori and his co-authors fired up three laser rays 60 trillion times the power of a laser pointer at a thin carbon rod in a slot of gas replicating the likely surrounds into which the supernova detonated. They excited the rod to millions of degrees, triggering it to explode.
Gregori said “The experiment demonstrated that as the blast of the explosion passes through the grid it becomes irregular and turbulent just like the images from Cassiopeia. We found that the magnetic field is higher with the grid than without it.”
Authors note: “The experiment also provides a laboratory example of magnetic field amplification by turbulence in plasmas, a physical process thought to occur in many astrophysical phenomena,” This might have broader importance. The magnetic field in interstellar space is far stronger than theoretical models propose it should be. The intensification of the field in this example may offer insight into how this could be happening all over the galaxy.
(If you find any error or miscalculation in this article then please feel free to share in comment and if you want to expand this article then comment below)