Yes, this is actually a research facility in Albuquerque and not a computer-generated scene. To be more specific, the “Z Machine at Sandia National Labs generates bursts of x-rays that scientists have used to replicate the temperature and density conditions in white dwarf stars.” Continue reading for a video and more information.

The pulse in question is key to Sandia’s studies of fusion and the effect of very intense magnetic pressures on materials that normally refuse to change states. Even in 2006, the Z was putting out pressure more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere, and it successfully melted diamond at roughly half that strength.

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