This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Supercomputers Allow First Detailed Milky Way Simulation

After months of number crunching on powerful supercomputers, researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Zurich have come up with a beautiful computer simulation of the physics involved in the formation of the Milky Way.

While it may at first bring to mind images you've seen on your iTunes Visualizer - and it is set to futuristic electronic music - the project took the group nearly eight months to create at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre in Manno, Switzerland. The group claims it would have taken 570 years to build the simulation on a personal computer.

The simulation, called "Eris," solves a long-standing problem that led some to question the prevailing cosmological model of our universe.

"Previous efforts to form a massive disk galaxy like the Milky Way had failed, because the simulated galaxies ended up with huge central bulges compared to the size of the disk," Javiera Guedes, who authored the study, said in a news release.

The Eris galaxy is a large spiral galaxy with a central "bar" of bright stars and other structural properties consistent with galaxies like our own: the Milky Way. The brightness profile, bulge-to-disk ratio, and stellar content of Eris are also all within the range of observations of the Milky Way.

For 20 years, astronomers have tried to come up with a simulated galaxy to replicate the look of the Milky Way and other spiral galaxies. Guedes and her colleagues were more successful primarily because of the equipment they had at their disposal: 1.4 million processor-hours on NASA's state-of-the-art Pleiades supercomputer, plus additional supporting simulations on supercomputers at UCSC and the Swiss National Supercomputing Center.

Read More



Nasa's Curiosity rover zaps Mars rock

Jonathan Amos - BBC News Comments

Pew pew pew pew

Sun Is Roundest Natural Object Known

Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments

The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.

Astrophysicists simulate 14 billion...

Liat Clark - Comments

Astrophysicists simulate 14 billion years of cosmic evolution in high resolution

Mars rover searching for signs of life

Lawrence Krauss - CNN Comments

Author and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, discusses what it would be like if we found life on another planet.

'Plate Tectonics' Discovered on...

- - The Daily Galaxy Comments

Mars Science Laboratory Touches Down...

Sean Carroll - Cosmic Variance -... Comments

Launched on November 26, 2011, the mission is scheduled to land on Mars’s Gale Crater tonight/tomorrow morning: 5:31 UTC, which translates to 1:30 a.m. Eastern time or 10:20 p.m. Pacific.



British website ordered to remove...

Staff - CTV News Comments

A British website claiming to offer parents advice on vaccines has been ordered to remove wording that suggests the MMR vaccine is linked to some cases of autism.

Gotcha! Antihydrogen atoms are captured...

Staff - The Economist 21 Comments

My Daily Read: PZ Myers

Staff - The Chronicle of Higher... 10 Comments



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment