‘Star Makers’, Cosmos (Feb 2006)
Scientists at MIT have developed a new simulation that traces 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. They start the simulation shortly after the big bang with a region of space much smaller than the universe (a mere 350 million light years across). Still, it’s big enough to follow the forces that helped create the galaxies we see today, and correctly predict the gas and metal content of those galaxies.
At first, we see dark matter clustering due to the force of gravity (first two GIFs). Then we see visible matter — blue for cool clouds of gas where galaxies form, red for more violent explosive galaxies (second two GIFs).
Super massive blackholes form, superheating the material around them, causing bright white explosions that enrich the space between galaxies with warm but sparse gas (fifth GIF).
Different elements (represented by different colors in the sixth GIF) are spread through the universe.
We arrive at a distribution of dark matter that looks similar to the one we see in our universe today (seventh GIF).
The simulation is so complex it would take two thousand years to render on a single desktop. And it’s kinda beautiful.
Image Credit: MIT and Nature Video
This new simulation, given the slightly-magical name “Illustris”, retraces the evolution of everything’s existence within a simulated cube 350 million light years on a side, packed full of 12 billion pixel-like units of 3-D universe simulation/simulacrum. It required 3 months of computing on 8,000 CPUs!
This simulation will allow scientists to take our current observations of the universe’s most distant objects, far-away galaxies that we only see as they were billions of years ago, and simulate their evolution up to our current time and beyond.
Science can now transcend time and space, inside a computer. Whoa.
Knowing a fact like that really makes you stop and wonder. Science can make life around you very poetic once you truly understand what you are looking at and try and make sense of it. NASA is an organization that wows us time and time again and sometimes it’s hard to even appreciate the hard work that goes along with it.
For example, landing Curiosity on Mars in 2012 was astounding feat for many people who didn’t know how incredibly difficult it was to accomplish. It’s why NASA plays a significant role in inspiring people to dream again and to dare for greatness. We face a time where NASA needs support from all over and help to communicate why NASA is truly inspiring and great. Think about all the technology we use in everyday life that was made possible by NASA, the heroes that went to the Moon and came back to tell the story, or the International Space Station which is a monument to international cooperation. NASA not only resonates with the American people, but the rest of the world. NASA means something different to everybody.
So let’s all work together, spread the message, and take action today. Visit penny4nasa.org/take-action/
Also her are some links to the past COSMOS episodes:
Episode 1: http://bit.ly/COSMOS-Ep1
Episode 2: http://bit.ly/COSMOS-Ep2
Episode 3: http://bit.ly/COSMOS-Ep3
Episode 4: http://bit.ly/COSMOS-Ep4
Episode 5: http://bit.ly/COSMOS-Ep5
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