A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Laboratory experiments replicate volatile plasma at the center of galaxy clusters

Credit: Giannandrea Inchingolo

Scientists use simulations and high-power lasers to explain how turbulent plasma can stay hot 

A team of U.S. National Science Foundation grantee astronomers and astrophysicists based at the University of Rochester and other institutions examined the inner workings of heat conduction in galaxy clusters -- thousands of galaxies held together by gravity.

The matter in galaxy clusters is mostly tenuous ionized gas (plasma) with magnetic fields in a turbulent state. Turbulent plasma is incredibly hot; the new study provides an explanation. The team published the work in Science Advances.


Astronomers find hot, turbulent plasma at the center of galaxy clusters

The researchers created a replica of the plasma conditions expected to occur in galaxy clusters. The team used laser beams to vaporize plastic foils and generate turbulent and magnetized plasma, demonstrating the turbulent dynamo mechanism that results in magnetic field amplification in a lab environment for the first time.

"This work opens a new, experimental path to addressing a long-standing astrophysical question: Why are the cores of galaxy clusters so hot, despite the copious amounts of radiation they emit?" asked Petros Tzeferacos, a co-author of the study. "Accounting for this energy budget will help us understand how galaxy clusters evolve and how their large-scale structure is set up."

The experiments conducted at the National Ignition Facility and the associated simulations demonstrate how laboratory explorations can help the understanding of astrophysical systems, plasma physics, and the behavior of magnetized and turbulent plasma.

Originally published on NSF

×
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Great Art Explained: Rodin
5 provocative science quotes by Rupert Sheldrake

Related Posts

EPS Recent Posts

03 February 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Getty images Where do we come from? The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas Day 2021, is already transforming our understanding of planets in our Solar System and far beyond. A versatile satellite observatory, JWST has a c...
6 Hits
30 January 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Nanostructures built using software that lets researchers design objects out of DNA. Models (top) with electron microscope images of the objects (bottom); Raghu Pradeep Narayanan and Abhay Prasad, Yan lab, Arizona State University Software le...
42 Hits
27 January 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Getty images The enhancement of human-machine interaction is expected to bring big improvements in support for learning and access to healthcare In a Swiss classroom, two children are engrossed in navigating an intricate maze with the help of...
49 Hits