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Astronomers rule (in their universe)

By JW Dowey - 01 Jan 2015 10:15:11 GMT
Astronomers rule (in their universe)

You know that moment when you just can’t grasp the argument. Well EAGLE, here represented by old baldie, hope to represent everything you ever wanted to know that happened in the Universe! Haliaeetus leucocephalus image; Credit: © Shutterstock

The Eagle in this project does not land. It can fly forwards or backward to represent the whole universe as it banged and evolved its way to our tiny position as a planet near a minor star. The University of Durham in the UK (and the Pierre et Marie Curie University connected with LIP6 in Paris, France) have announced that a paper of the Royal Astronomical Society will explain how accurately their powerful computers model the galaxies. More galaxies from Hubble here and recent discoveries such as the most mature galaxies keep expanding our ideas of the whole universe and especially its dark matter, so this assembly of all current ideas will be useful to keep us all in the true picture, as well as good fodder for computer games.

The Eagle (Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments) Project is a name given to Prof. Richard Bower and several other European researchers’ computations in the so-called Virgo Consortium using these universities’ enormous computers and several other facilities. He explains that using 7 billion particles means lengthy calculations, but an apparently true model of all the facets of known galactic behaviours has resulted. 10,000 model galaxies are studied over 300 million light years. That takes us back almost to the Big Bang, with the scene of a starless, galaxy-less universe with only baryonic matter present to form such structures along with that terrifying dark matter.

Collapsing supernovae, supermassive black holes and active galactic nuclei (AGN) play around with our delicate galaxies in devastations enough to satisfy even Stephen Hawkings. You could almost see the model as a giant computer game that you can play and play again. Temperatures of curse are spectacular, with 100,000K in hot gases structures we can detect with X-rays in the real Universe. The real achievement in this model is the beauty of a false Milky Way, having realistic spirals in its stellar disc. It is a giant cosmology which uses hydrodynamical simulation within the DIRAC-2 supercomputer in Durham. Galactic winds can also blow gas away and destroy thousands of potential galaxies in full colour (!!!) as simulations develop from 13.8 billion years ago.

Now, progress will see us with better and better models of how the Sun will decay and how we reached the current 8-planetary status. Even better, let’s get rid of this disastrous environmental mess of a planet (and its hopeless humans) and build a better Universe - without us!

POSTSCIPT: David Attenborough probably agrees, with his latest quote about us sticking our heads in the sand (Ostrich’s apparently aren’t quite that stupid, David!)