Taking all-sky surveys / maps to another 10^n level of visualization …
So much of modern cosmology depends on the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation in 1965.
Wiki: “Any proposed model of the universe must explain this radiation.”
Since then, advances in the tools to measure and analyze that faint, relic radiation have refined our perspective on cosmic origins. Studying the most subtle fluctuations in the CMB. Evidence of the Big Bang model. A consistency check (challenge) for the Standard Model.
Wiki: List of cosmic microwave background experiments [link]
Supercomputers and simulations to the max. Beyond galactic simulations in this case (below), which uses data from the Planck spacecraft.
Wiki: Planck was a space observatory operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) from 2009 to 2013, which mapped the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at microwave and infrared frequencies, with high sensitivity and small angular resolution.
Planck has defined the most precise measurements of several key cosmological parameters, including the average density of ordinary matter and dark matter in the Universe and the age of the universe.
This Phys.org article provides an overview of how Planck’s 2015 data release [link] has been used to simulate a virtual universe. The various derived cosmological parameters [link].
No, not something like the quintillions of worlds (planets) of the No Man’s Sky video game’s procedurally generated universe; but data visualization of large-scale structures. The cosmic shape of dark matter.
Data reduction and analysis of the CMB is complicated – both the physics and math and computation. The chain of dependencies and well-established assumptions in this model are far beyond my ken. Yet, a useful vehicle for exploring some fundamental questions. Communicating the cosmos.
• Phys.org > “Largest virtual universe free for anyone to explore” by Center for Computational Astrophysics (September 10, 2021)
[Article includes YouTube video.]
(quote) Uchuu (meaning “outer space” [universe] in Japanese) is the largest and most realistic simulation of the universe to date. The Uchuu simulation consists of 2.1 trillion particles in a computational cube an unprecedented 9.63 billion light-years to a side.
Uchuu focuses on the large-scale structure of the universe: mysterious halos of dark matter that control not only the formation of galaxies, but also the fate of the entire universe itself. The scale of these structures ranges from the largest galaxy clusters down to the smallest galaxies. Individual stars and planets aren’t resolved, so don’t expect to find any alien civilizations in Uchuu. … Uchuu simulates the evolution of matter over almost the entire 13.8 billion year history of the universe from the Big Bang to the present.
… the research team used high-performance computational techniques to compress information on the formation and evolution of dark matter haloes in the Uchuu simulation into a 100-terabyte catalog. This catalog is now available to everyone on the cloud in an easy to use format
• Skies & Universes > Uchuu Simulations
• Universe Today > “Researchers Generate an Entire Virtual Universe and Make it Available for Download (if you Have 100 Terabytes of Free Hard Drive Space)“
• Star bright, first light — fingerprint hunt
• Age of universe — implications?
• Defining a universe — how many constants?
11 thoughts on “Big sim’s – visualizing the universe!”
Does the universe have a color?
Looking at the range of electromagnetic radiation, not just the visible spectrum, “the researchers used a color-matching computer program to convert the cosmic spectrum into a single color visible to humans.”
• Space.com > “What color is the universe?” by Harry Baker (August 25, 2021) – “Cosmic latte” …
Seeing vs. realizing …
Imagine looking out a window at a tree in the back of your yard. Perhaps taking a picture of the scene. At a later time, perhaps after some years, you look again; and the tree is noticeably farther away. A walking tree? Then sometime later, you notice it’s even farther away. So, you go outside; but, like in a strange dream, no matter how fast you try to reach the tree, you cannot do so.
Such is the cosmos. The scale of the universe is mind-boggling. Even from what we can observe with ground / space telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum. Distances elude us: original distances, apparent current distances, actual current distances.
How far way can another galaxy still be observed? The size of the observable universe. What’s the oldest light than can be detected?
If we can see it, would a light-speed spacecraft be able to reach it?
How do these approximate light-year numbers arise: 46.1, 14.5, 18 billion?
• Big Think > “94% of the universe’s galaxies are permanently beyond our reach” by Ethan Siegel (October 18, 2021) – Even if we traveled at the speed of light, we’d never catch up to these galaxies.
• Light year
• Big Bang
This is an interesting article regarding cosmological models. As well as an example of Sabine Hossenfelder’s work – since I recently finished reading her 2018 book Lost in Math, which explores (among other things) the role of assumptions in astrophysical theories. So, this is an example of research seeking to move beyond a common simplistic model.
Namely, the Lambda-CDM [cold dark matter] model. And an application of the Mori-Zwanzig formalism – a method of statistical physics used, e.g., in fluid mechanics! For systems which form a Hilbert space.
• Phys.org > “Studying cosmic expansion using methods from many-body physics” by University of Münster (December 6, 2021)
Perhaps a new computational record for cosmic simulations. Modeling the early universe, including dark matter as “the backbone of the cosmos.” Using the Vlasov equation.
Neutrinos “have an outsize influence on the evolution of structures” – “to weakly influence the behavior [clumping] of dark matter.”
• Space.com > “Massive simulation of the universe probes mystery of ghostly neutrinos” by Paul Sutter (12-6-2021) – “the universe is a little smoother than it would be without neutrinos.”
The grandest of all estimates of size …
• Space.com > “How big is the universe?” by Nola Taylor Tillman, Jonathan Gordon (January 28, 2022) – “All we can truly conclude is that the universe is much larger than the volume we can directly observe.”
European Space Agency’s Planck space observatory (2009 to 2013 re CMB map)
Bayesian model averaging
A couple of articles on research using cosmic simulations – galaxies and large-scale mass structures.
• Phys.org > “Observing more disk galaxies than theory allows” by University of Bonn (February 4, 2022) – “… the exact mechanisms of galaxy growth are not yet fully understood …”
• Phys.org > “Astronomers trace galaxy flows across 700 million light years” by University of Hawaii at Manoa (February 3, 2022) – “We are bringing into focus the detailed formation history of large-scale mass structures in the universe by reverse engineering the gravitational interactions that created them …”
… “the Great Attractor,” … the core of the Laniakea Supercluster
… the adjacent Perseus-Pisces filament of galaxies
Another new radio astronomy sky survey – cosmic scale map and computational physics.
• Phys.org > “Scientists reveal 4.4 million galaxies in a new map” by Durham University (February 25, 2022)
This article sketches the basics of cosmic evolution and highlights the interplay of computational physics and observations from current land & space based instruments. Predictions & observational reality. Big science stuff.
• Scientific American > “New Record-Breaking Simulation Sheds Light on ‘Cosmic Dawn’” by Charles Q. Choi (May 10, 2022) – A computer model of the universe’s first billion years is helping set expectations for observations from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
The Big Bang
era of recombination
epoch of reionization (ionizing photons)
• The physics, the math – evolution of computational physics
Here’s a visualization of how galactic clusters form.
• NASA > APOD > “Simulation TNG50: A Galaxy Cluster Forms” (May 29, 2022)
• YouTube > APOD Videos > “Simulation TNG50: A Galaxy Cluster Forms”
Here’s an article on a cosmic simulation (which required 100,000 hours of computation) from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC).
• Space.com > “New simulation charts how the early universe developed within seconds of the Big Bang” by Elizabeth Howell (June 6, 2022) – A new simulation maps the first few seconds after the Big Bang, focusing on what scientists call the intergalactic medium, or the gas and dust between galaxies.
So, as portrayed in the movie “Cowboys and aliens,” gold is indeed rare in the Milky Way ; and new galactic simulations conclude that “most gold-rich stars formed in small progenitor galaxies of the Milky Way over 10 billion years ago.”
• Phys.org > “Research unveils birthplace of gold-rich stars” by Royal Astronomical Society (November 14, 2022) – A new simulation analyzed the formation of gold-rich stars in our Milky Way for the first time.
 The aliens are mining gold in 1873 New Mexico Territory …
• Scripts.com > Cowboys and Aliens
What are they [the aliens] doing here?
They want gold.
Well, that’s just ridiculous.
What are they gonna do,
It’s as rare to them as it is to you.
Related posts (and comments)
• The Milky Way’s shape – regarding, in particular, ‘fossil’ records of galactic evolution, Gaia mission data, …
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