creation of milky wayFor decades, astrophysicists have attempted to recreate the formation of spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way as realistic as possible.

Recently, a group of astrophysicists from the University of Zurich demonstrated the world’s first realistic simulation of the creation of the Milky Way galaxy. The simulation was done in collaboration with astronomers from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The new results were partly calculated on the computer of the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS) and show, for instance, that there must be stars on the outer edge of the Milky Way.

“The simulation follows the interactions of more than 60 million particles of dark matter and gas. A lot of physics goes into the code–gravity and hydrodynamics, star formation and supernova explosions–and this is the highest resolution cosmological simulation ever done this way,” said astrophysicist Guedes.

Just how complex was this simulation? It was calculated in 8 months at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre at Manno, Switzerland. It would take 570 years of computational time to run the same simulation on a personal computer.

And here it is – the formation of our Milky Way galaxy: