A laser and a foam ball have been used to replicate the supernova that sparked the formation of the solar system by igniting a cloud of gas and dust.
As long as they aren’t disturbed, molecular clouds, such as the one in which the building blocks for the Sun and the planets were found, may exist in an unbroken state of equilibrium.
A shock from a supernova may cause dense material to collapse and form a star if it is activated externally.
According to French academics at the Polytechnic Institute of Paris, that’s what occurred to the solar system. Mathematical models can’t account for the intricacies of these occurrences, so the team relied on more commonplace methods.
An X-ray camera was used to watch as a high-power laser shot a blast wave into a gas chamber and then into the foam ball, mimicking a thick molecular cloud.
Astronomers have been debating the formation of our solar system for decades now, and new research may offer up a new avenue for experimentation.
The French scientists began with the premise that something had to have sparked the cloud of gas and dust that gave rise to the sun, Earth, and the rest of the solar system.
Instead of collapsing back into the sun and creating a bigger star, the event prompted dust and gas all around the proto-star, a concentrated region of dust and gas inside the cloud, to spin. These processes can’t be seen by astronomical observations or numerical models because of their high spatial resolution and complicated interactions between clouds and supernova leftovers.
To date, nothing is known about how new stars are born in this manner, which is why this new study is so important. Shockwaves of high-energy particles were blasted across space by the explosion of a nearby big star, and they would have slammed into our otherwise tranquil cloud.