Scientists Create Most Accurate Universe Simulation Ever

Is the Matrix next? A team of scientists at MIT has created a computer simulation of the universe that is being called the most accurate ever.

The computer model simulation, developed by a team lead by Mark Vogelsberger, begins shortly after the creation of the universe and continues until the current age. A description of the simulation was published Wednesday in the journal Nature, and the creation is being acclaimed because it is the best depiction yet of the scale of the whole universe as well as in the details from individual galaxies.

The team employed Illustris simulation software, and began the journey at a relatively young age for the universe -- a mere 12 million years after the Big Bang. It then had to also cover an additional 13 billion years to bring it to the present.

350 Million Light-Years

To go with that enormous time range is the unimaginable range of space, about 350 million light-years across. One light-year is about 10 million million kilometers. This kind of enormous time and space range has never been captured before in a single simulation. The smallest details shown are about 1,000 light-years across, which the scientists expect to get down to several light-years across -- but it could take a decade more of refining the simulation.

And the simulation also tackles the range of elements, from the simplest -- hydrogen and helium in the early years -- to heavier and more numerous elements later. There are also more than 40,000 different types of galaxies, such as elliptical and disk galaxies.

One scientist not on the team, University of Maryland astronomer Michael Boylan-Kolchin, noted in a news article in Nature that the realism in the images of the galaxies was previously "possible only for simulation of individual galaxies."

The team members said that the simulated images of galaxies...

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