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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Stefan: High-energy density laboratory astrophysics studies of accretion shocks in magnetic cataclysmic variables

In this paper we present the experimental simulation of the accretion column in magnetic cataclysmic variables using high-power lasers. With an appropriate target and adapted diagnostics, the dynamics and the main physical properties of laboratory accreting plasma have been characterised. The results obtained validate the experimental design and prove the formation of a reverse shock which compresses and heats the accreting plasma. The data are compared to 2D radiation hydrodynamic simulations, confirming the experimental scenario.