Many research teams aim at understanding of the origin and behavior of the magnetic field of planets and stars. The VKS1 collaboration (gathering researchers at CEA, CNRS, Ecoles normales supérieures in Lyon and Paris) has succeeded in generating a magnetic field from a highly turbulent liquid sodium flow in a laboratory experiment. Although the extreme conditions specific to astrophysical and geophysical media are out of reach in the laboratory, the observed magnetic field shares remarkable similarities with cosmic fields. Their observations are reported in the January 26th issue of Physical Review Letters (see also the "Physical review Focus").
Generation of a Magnetic Field by Dynamo Action in a Turbulent Flow of Liquid Sodium, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, (2007) 044502.