Astrophysical research has traditionally been divided into observations and theoretical modeling or a combination of both. A component sometimes missing has been the ability to quantitatively test the observations and models in an experimental setting where the initial and final states are well characterized. Intense lasers are now being used to recreate aspects of astrophysical phenomena in the laboratory, allowing the creation of experimental test beds where observations and models can be quantitatively compared with laboratory data. Experiments are under development at intense laser facilities to test and refine our understanding of phenomena such as supernovae, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, and giant planets.
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