Simulation of a time machine created to study ancestral galaxies

(ORDO NEWS) — For the first time, researchers have created a simulation that directly recreates the full life cycle of some of the largest galaxy clusters seen in the distant universe 11 billion years ago.

A group of researchers led by researcher and first author of the project of the Kavli Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Universe named after Kavli Metin Ata and assistant professor Khee-Gan Lee became interested in such distant structures as massive protoclusters of galaxies, which are the ancestors of modern clusters of galaxies before they could coalesce under by the action of its own gravity.

They found that existing studies of distant protoclusters were sometimes too simplistic, that is, carried out with simple models rather than simulations.

The result of the work of scientists was COSTCO (COnstrained Simulations of The COsmos Field).

Li said that developing the simulation was like building a time machine. Because light from the distant universe is only now reaching Earth, the galaxies that telescopes observe today are a snapshot of the past.

“It’s like finding an old black and white photo of your grandfather and making a video of his life,” he said.

In this sense, the researchers took pictures of the “young” grandparents of galaxies in the universe and then fast-forwarded their ages to study how clusters of galaxies form.

The light from the galaxies the researchers used traveled 11 billion light-years to reach us.

The biggest challenge was taking into account the large scale environment.

“If you don’t consider the environment, you get completely different results. We were able to consistently account for the large-scale environment because we have a full simulation and therefore our forecast is more stable,” Ata said.

Another important reason the researchers created these simulations was to test the standard model of cosmology, which is used to describe the physics of the universe.

By predicting a finite mass and a finite distribution of structures in a given space, researchers could uncover previously undetected discrepancies in our current understanding of the universe.

Using simulations, the researchers were able to find evidence for the existence of three already published protoclusters of galaxies and disprove one structure.

In addition, they were able to identify five more structures that consistently formed in the simulation. These include the Hyperion protosupercluster, the largest and earliest protosupercluster known to date, with 5,000 times the mass of our Milky Way galaxy, which researchers have found will decay into a large filament 300 million light years long.

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