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The Universe's Cosmic Scale


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The Millennium Simulation featured in this clip was run in 2005 by the Virgo Consortium, an international group of astrophysicists from Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and the United States. A virtual cube of 2 billion light years on a side was "filled" with 10 billion "particles" whose evolution was computed using the physical laws expected to hold in the currently known cosmologies. The initial distribution of matter, that resembled the conditions present when the cosmic microwave background radiation was emitted (about 379,000 years after the universe began) was allowed to evolve, and the formation of galaxies and black holes in the simulation were recorded. After all the computing work was done (28 days, at a rate of 200 billion calculations per second) 20 million galaxies were formed in the initial space. These galaxies and the dark matter around them formed web-like structures that resemble the shapes observed by the most recent data available in cosmic surveys, such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Also very importantly: the simulation provided support for our current "standard model" of cosmology, the so called: Lambda Cold Dark Matter Model.



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