The evolution of the universe, in 78 seconds

Scientists have developed a new computer simulation capable of modeling the birth and evolution of the universe. Here's a mere 9 billion years of galactic formation, shown here in 78 seconds:

The software's called Arepo and it was developed by scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies.

Here's an explanation from Wired's Liat Clark: "Unlike previous model simulators, such as the Gadget code, Arepo's hydrodynamic model replicates the gaseous formations following the Big Bang by using a virtual, flexible grid that has the capacity to move to match the motions of the gas, stars, dark matter and dark energy that make up space -- it's like a virtual model of the cosmic web, able to bend and flex to support the matter and celestial bodies that make up the universe. Old simulators instead used a more regimented, fixed, cubic grid."

(Via io9's Robert Gonzalez.)

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Sarah Kliff · August 21, 2012