Laboratory astrophysics

Laboratory astrophysics is the study of astrophysical phenomena in the laboratory (Earth- or space-based). This might include various aspects of astrochemistry (chemical reactions under extreme conditions of temperature, density, irradiation), plasma physics, spectroscopy, meteorite analysis, fluid dynamics, and magnetohydrodynamics.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    A paper in Science Advances uses a laboratory setup to simulate galaxy cluster cores and explain the suppression of heat conduction from the plasma core.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • News & Views |

    The behaviour of minerals under high pressure affects the bulk properties of exoplanets and planets with rocky components, possibly influencing their observable radii. Obtaining a wide range of experimental data is key to understanding observations and informing planetary interior models.

    • Nadine Nettelmann
    Nature Astronomy 5, 744-745
  • News & Views |

    A laser–plasma experiment has recreated shock waves in collisionless, weakly magnetized conditions and evidenced electron acceleration to relativistic energies, offering unprecedented insight into a long-standing problem in astrophysics.

    • Laurent Gremillet
    •  & Martin Lemoine
    Nature Physics 16, 901-903
  • Comments & Opinion |

    In 2010, the Spitzer Space Telescope detected evidence of a complex form of carbon that had never been seen in extraterrestrial environments. Jan Cami recounts the discovery of buckminsterfullerene in space.

    • Paul Woods
    Nature Astronomy 4, 299-305
  • News & Views |

    Planets are assembled from the ground up, beginning with millimetre-sized interstellar dust grains. Microgravity experiments suggest that centimetre-sized dust aggregates form from these smaller grains via collisional charging.

    • Katherine Follette
    Nature Physics 16, 124-125