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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 31 August, 2014

WATCH: Physicists recreate the formation of the Milky Way

See that great big swirl there? That’s our home. An international team have used Swiss supercomputers to replay its creation.

This is the simulated galaxy created by the international model - which bears remarkable similarities to the Milky Way.
This is the simulated galaxy created by the international model - which bears remarkable similarities to the Milky Way.
Image: Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

A TEAM OF astrophysicists in Switzerland and the United States have used supercomputers to create what they claim is the world’s first realistic simulation of how the Milky Way came into existence.

The teams from the University of Zurich and the University of California at Santa Cruz spent eight months compiling the hyper-realistic reconstruction using machines at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre.

The goal of the project was to try and create a model that gave results as close to actual reality as possible – hoping, along the way, to prove some of the theories that underpin science’s knowledge of how the universe came to be.

The simulation – titled ‘Eris’, after the Greek god of discord – begins its recreation from one million years after the big bang, and shows how the observed laws of gravity, fluid dynamics and radiophysics can act to create a spiral galaxy like our own.

Among the more practical outcomes of the simulation, Science Daily said, was the proof that there are stars on the outer edge of our home galaxy.

It also displayed, conclusively, that giant gas clouds must form first before a spiral galaxy can emerge – with the galaxy then growing by absorbing other planetary objects from its vicinity.


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