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CosmosUp | November 20, 2019

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Astronomers 'Play God' by Creating an Entire Universe

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Astronomers ‘Play God’ by Creating an Entire Universe

For several years, astronomers have tried to develop the computer-simulated models of the Universe; but without the desired success. The galaxies formed in computer simulations were typically extremely massive, sometimes too small or too old. The computers would generate galaxies of very spherical shape; which haven’t been observed.

However, an international team of astronomers, based at the Universities of Leiden in the Netherlands and Durham in the UK and, led by professor Joop Schaye (Leiden University), developed a simulation of the universe in which realistic galaxies are created; their mass, size and age are similar to those of observed galaxies. Their similarity is caused by the simulation of strong galactic winds – gas winds that are blown from galaxies.

The new simulation could reveal how galaxies and dark matter formed in the early universe

The new simulation could reveal how galaxies and dark matter formed in the early universe

The EAGLE (Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments) project utilizes calculations for modeling structural formations in cosmological volume, featuring 100 Megaparsecs on a side.

As that is equivalent to more than 300 million light-years, the EAGLE project is large enough for 10,000 galaxies, each one at least the size of the Milky Way. To compare galaxies, the project referred to the Hubble Deep field.

As one of, if not the actual, largest cosmological hydrodynamical simulations produced, the EAGLE project used close to 7 billion particles to demonstrate the physics behind the formation of galaxies. It took over a month and a half to complete the simulation even with a supercomputer running on 4000 cores.

EAGLE’s galaxies are lighter and younger because fewer stars form and they form later. In the EAGLE simulation these galactic winds – which are powered by stars, supernova explosions and supermassive black holes – are stronger than in earlier simulations.

The sizes and shapes of the thousands of galaxies that form in the EAGLE simulation are also similar to those of galaxies that astronomers observe in the Universe. “The universe generated by the computer is just like the real thing. There are galaxies everywhere, with all the shapes, sizes and colors I’ve seen with the world’s largest telescopes. It is incredible. In the EAGLE universe, I can even press a button to make time run backwards,” said Richard Bower, co-author of the study.

The Eagle simulation may also help in the hunt for one of the universe’s most elusive phenomena – dark matter. ‘Understanding how galaxies formed holds the key to the dark matter mystery.’

Eagle is one of the first attempts to simulate what happened from the Big Bang to the present day in the formation of galaxies in the universe.

You can watch the dazzling evolution of intergalactic gas into galaxies in one of the simulations from the EAGLE team in the video below.

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Abstract Source: http://goo.gl/GE2qpX.



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