MIT and Harvard researchers create ultra-accurate model of the universe

Researchers at MIT and Harvard have created the most accurate model yet of how our universe formed, and you can watch it right here in the beautiful, trippy video below. “Watching the video is like flying through the universe way faster than the speed of light and watching galaxies as they are assembling,” said Paul Torrey, an astronomy graduate student at Harvard who helped develop the model known as the Illustris simulation.

Scientists and researchers have simulated a portion of the universe in a computer. The result, Illustris, is a slice of cosmos 350 million cubic light years in size, containing 41,416 modeled galaxies. It’s impressive, but it’s nowhere close to the full picture. Our best guess puts the number of galaxies in the observable universe at more than 170 billion. Still, for these sample galaxies, Illustris manages to simulate 13 billion years of evolution in three minutes. It accurately defines their shapes, sizes and distribution of elements. Lead author Mark Vogelsberger, an assistant professor of physics at MIT, calls it a breakthrough of sorts.

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