Caltech Designs A Computer Simulation Of The Milky Way Galaxy

By Jiran , Sep 12, 2016 03:40 AM EDT

Caltech astronomers Andrew R. Wetzel, Philip F. Hopkins and their colleagues have recently published their research on the simulation of how the Milky Way galaxy came to be. The recent simulation is said to be similar to the actual galaxy that's being observed.

Previous Simulation and Missing Satellites

According to Caltech, astronomers have been persistently simulating the Milky Way galaxy. The simulations help them understand how everything in it developed. That includes the Solar System where our planet is found. Their previous simulations suggest that there are thousands of dwarf galaxies that surround the Milky Way.

The astronomers encountered a problem with this. Contrary to that number, they have only observed around 30 small galaxies. More simulations had to be done to identify the other undocumented galaxies. This led the astronomers to believe that the mistake was in their calculations, according to Engadget.

Wetzel, the leader of the said research, explained that they had previously thought the problem was in the faulty understanding of dark matter. But it is the assimilation of supernovae's effect that caused more accurate results in the recent simulation.

How Did The Recent Simulation Work?

The simulation had to use thousands of computers and 700,000 CPU working hours. Complex codes have to be written into the computer. These codes are formed from the equations of the basic laws of physics and the description of the universe's ingredients. It will work based on what the codes are. The supercomputer should be able to compute those equations repeatedly, according to Hopkins.

The astronomers opted to use supercomputers for the simulation. Otherwise, a single computer would require 80 years to do the vast calculations according to the Popular Mechanics.

Meticulous formulas of the dramatic effects of supernovae on these dwarf galaxies were incorporated into the simulation. This was not considered in the previous simulations. Apparently, the winds from the explosions can blow gas and stars out of a small galaxy. The speed can reach up to thousands of kilometers per second.

This recent computer simulated Milky Way galaxy depicts a much precise representation.

Astronomers Are Not Yet Done

The astronomers involved in this research have to do more simulations. They will need up to 20 million CPU hours of computation. They still have yet to discover the faintest galaxies and how many of them actually exist.

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