August 7, 2002
4:14 PM   Subscribe

A computer aided simulation builds a spiral galaxy from its beginning. In all, 390,000 particles were placed in an arrangement similar to a newborn galaxy. The end result after three months is an event that is believed to take billions of years to occur. (animation)
posted by samsara (7 comments total)
A very impressive simulation, although waiting 3 months between computations must get a bit tiresome. As a warning for anyone on dialup, the animation itself is quite long (about 1.8mb). Tis well worth the wait though. Thanks for the link :)
posted by zygoticmynci at 4:57 PM on August 7, 2002

There's something evil and alive about that animation.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:20 PM on August 7, 2002

Each country has its myth about how it all began.
This site has them all.
posted by rightho at 5:33 PM on August 7, 2002

The universe is self-organizing.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on August 7, 2002

although waiting 3 months between computations must get a bit tiresome.

I agree, but you must admit it sure beats waiting 2 billion years :) The progress of computer technology utilized in research constantly amazes me. Sure, a super computer such as ASCII white may have been able to run this type of simulation within a day, being able to do it in three months with local resources is something only daydreamed about a decade ago.

What I think will be interesting is the next time they run the simulation. I wonder if what they observed was a rare relationship between gas and dark matter, or if it constantly turns out to create spiraled arms.

While I'd love to have a copy of the program so I could create my own universe, guess I'll have to wait.
There are plenty of freely available galaxy sims to occupy the armchair astronaut in me for now such as the awe inspiring Celestia. It's an "interesting" feeling to zip along to a distant star only to find, that when you turn around, Sol could be 1 out of 10,000 points of light. Some other beautifully crafted, but less intuitively controlled simulations are Orbiter and OpenUniverse.
posted by samsara at 8:36 PM on August 7, 2002

"Dude, I think I can see my house from here!"
posted by Danelope at 9:35 PM on August 7, 2002

That was soooooooooooooooooo cool!
posted by Lynsey at 10:31 PM on August 7, 2002

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