Scientists at the Vulcan laser lab in the United Kingdom have used three high powered light beams "focused on a carbon rod target not much thicker than a strand of hair"to create a supernova right here on Earth — a tiny supernova, but a supernova nonetheless.
The researchers conducted the experiment to understand the shape of Cassiopeia A — a supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia located 11,000 light-years away from us and measuring about 10 light-years across. Their paper has been published in Nature Physics.
According to professor Gianluca Gregori at the Oxford University's Department of Physics — the main author of the paper — the experiment was possible because the 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."