Most of the matter in the universe is in the few form of a plasma. Over the past years physicists have produced laboratory plasmas that can mimic those observed in astrophysics. The best known is probably the tokamak, which has similar physical conditions and plasma processes to those found in collisionally dominated solar and stellar transition regions and coronae. Spectroscopy of such laboratory plasmas, in, particular at, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths, has greatly aided our understanding of their astrophysical counterparts. More recently, experiments have been performed on the Z Machine at the Sandia National Laboratory in the USA with the aim of creating, for the first time, steady-state photoionization-dominated plasmas that recreate the conditions found in some accretion-powered X-ray sources, such as X-ray binaries. In the future, experiments are envisaged with laser-produced plasmas at AWE Aldermaston that may be able to mimic the steady-state conditions found in high-energy accretion-powered sources, including the central regions of active galaxies.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Astronomy & Geophysics|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Astronomy and Astrophysics