Illustris simulation still frame centered on the most massive galaxy cluster existing today, with dark matter shown as blue-purple filaments and bubbles of red, orange and white indicating gas being blasted outward by supernovae or jets from supermassive black holes (Image: Illustris Collaboration)
Composite image from the Illustris simulation centered on the most massive galaxy cluster existing today, with concentrations of dark matter (at left in blue and purple) morphing to normal matter made mostly of hydrogen and helium gas (at right in red, orange and yellow) (Image: Illustris Collaboration)
Visible-light images comparing a Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the sky (left) to a simulated view (right) generated by the Illustris simulation, which accurately reproduces the sizes, types, and colors of galaxies in the universe (Image: NASA / Illustris Collaboration)
As you might expect, the scale and complexities of the underlying physics means creating a realistic virtual universe would require some hefty computing power. A team of astronomers is claiming to have achieved this impressive feat using a computer simulation called "Illustris," which took five years to program and, for the first time, can recreate the evolution of the Universe in high fidelity.
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