Simulating Galaxies

Physicists Just Created the Most Detailed Simulation of the Universe in History

The centers of massive galaxy clusters are super hot (red), while bright structures show diffuse gas from the intergalactic medium shock heating at the boundary between cosmic voids and filaments. 

The centers of massive galaxy clusters are super hot (red), while bright structures show diffuse gas from the intergalactic medium shock heating at the boundary between cosmic voids and filaments.
(Image: © TNG Collaboration)

The formation of galaxies is a complex dance between matter and energy, occurring on a stage of cosmic proportions and spanning billions of years. How the diversity of structured and dynamic galaxies we observe today arose from the fiery chaos of the Big Bang remains one of the most difficult unsolved puzzles of cosmology.

In search of answers, an international team of scientists has created the most detailed large-scale model of the universe to date, a simulation they call TNG50. Their virtual universe, some 230 million light-years wide, contains tens of thousands of evolving galaxies with levels of detail previously seen only in single-galaxy models. The simulation tracked more than 20 billion particles representing dark matter, gases, stars and supermassive black holes, over a 13.8-billion-year period.

The unprecedented resolution and scale allowed the researchers to gather key insights into our own universe’s past, revealing how various oddly shaped galaxies morphed themselves into being and how stellar explosions and black holes triggered this galactic evolution. Their results are published in two articles to be featured in the December 2019 issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

TNG50 is the latest simulation created by the IllustrisTNG Project, which aims to build a complete picture of how our universe evolved since the Big Bang by producing a large-scale universe without sacrificing the fine details of individual galaxies.

“These simulations are huge datasets where we can learn a ton by dissecting and understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies within them,” said Paul Torrey, associate professor of physics at the University of Florida and co-author of the study. “What’s fundamentally new about TNG50, is that you’re getting to a sufficiently high mass and spatial resolution within the galaxies that give you a clear picture of what the internal structure of the systems looks like as they form and evolve.”

The model’s attention to detail comes at some cost. The simulation required 16,000 processor cores of the Hazel Hen supercomputer in Stuttgart, Germany, running continuously for more than a year. The same calculation would take a single processor system 15,000 years to compute. Despite being one of the most computationally heavy astrophysical simulations in history, the researchers believe their investment has paid off.

“Numerical experiments of this kind are particularly successful when you get out more than you put in,” Dylan Nelson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich, Germany, and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “In our simulation, we see phenomena that had not been programmed explicitly into the simulation code. These phenomena emerge in a natural fashion, from the complex interplay of the basic physical ingredients of our model universe.”

The violent simulated birth of a galaxy cluster where dark matter structures (in white) merge together while supermassive blackholes and supernovae expel cosmic gas away (gas motion is shown in red).

The violent simulated birth of a galaxy cluster where dark matter structures (in white) merge together while supermassive blackholes and supernovae expel cosmic gas away (gas motion is shown in red). (Image credit: TNG Collaboration)

That emergent phenomenon might be essential to understanding why our universe appears as it is today 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. TNG50 allowed researchers to see firsthand how galaxies may have emerged from the turbulent clouds of gas present shortly after the universe was born. They discovered that the disk-shaped galaxies common to our cosmic neighborhood naturally emerged within their simulation and produced internal structures, including spiral arms, bulges and bars extending from their central supermassive black holes. When they compared their computer-generated universe to real-life observations, they found their population of galaxies were qualitatively consistent with reality

As their galaxies continued to flatten into well-ordered rotating disks, another phenomenon began to emerge. Supernova explosions and supermassive black holes at the heart of each galaxy created high-speed outflows of gas. These outflows morphed into fountains of gas rising thousands of light-years above a galaxy. The tug of gravity eventually brought much of this gas back unto the galaxy’s disk, redistributing it to its outer edge and creating a feedback loop of gas outflow and inflow. Apart from recycling the ingredients for forming new stars, the outflows were also shown to change their galaxy’s structure. The recycled gases accelerated the transformation of galaxies into thin rotating disks.

Despite these initial findings, the team is far from finished dissecting their model. They also plan to release all of the simulation’s data publicly for astronomers across the world to study their virtual cosmos.

“There’s a huge road ahead of us now that we have these simulations completed,” Torrey said. “A whole team of researchers are working to better understand the detailed properties of the galaxies that form and what emergent trends show up in that data.”

Originally published on Live Science.


Help Rename New Mexico’s Very Large Array Radio Telescope

VLA New MexicoThe NRAO’s VLA facility just west of Socorro, New Mexico is completing a decade long state-of-the-art electronics infrastructure upgrade bringing its capabilities well into the 21st century, some say even surpassing that of the recently activated VLT in Chile. To commemorate this milestone, the NRAO is holding a renaming contest at The organization desires a new name that will both embody the landmark work the VLA has provided for over 30 years and express its significance as a leader in radio astronomy observations.
Your entry will be competing with some of the best minds in community and you have 6 weeks to meet the deadline of December 1st, 2011.


Scientific Study adopts unrealistic stance on extraterrestrial contact

From the article:

What “A Scenario Analysis” fails to do is to actively engage with the more than abundant evidence that humanity is currently being visited by extraterrestrial life. In the abstract, the authors categorically state: “humanity has not yet observed any extraterrestrial intelligence.” Yet there is an incredible amount of physical evidence concerning sightings of UFOs under intelligent control displaying flight characteristics far above what is known to be possible in conventional or even classified aerospace research. In addition, there are also numerous whistleblower reports concerning crashes of UFOs, and retrievals of extraterrestrial biological entities. Finally, there are also first hand witness reports of contacts, both voluntary and involuntary, with extraterrestrial entities. Rather than acknowledge the existence of such evidence, the scientific study chooses to dismiss it all together adopting the well known SETI perspective that no extraterrestrial contact has yet been made.

Read more at Exopolitics Institute

Dragonfly Drones

Part 1:  Dragonfly Drones, Oltissis and Ethos

© 2011 by Linda Moulton Howe


“Those from Oltissis are downloading their life essence
into the dragonfly drone craft in order to control (from afar?) and do
the tests that they need to do with these (dragonfly drone) craft.”

– “Ted Connors,” Security Specialist, Montgomery, Alabama


Dragonfly-shaped aerial craft photographed by Chad
on May 6, 2007, in Bakersfield, California region.

More complicated dragonfly-shaped aerial craft photographed by Ty Brannigan
on June 5, 2007, in Big Basin Redwood State Park near Saratoga, California.


June 30, 2011  Montgomery, Alabama – Four years ago in May to June 2007, a series of eyewitnesses in California submitted photographs to Earthfiles and other websites of strange,
dragonfly-shaped aerial craft that seemed to flicker in and out of visibility in the sky. Here is a list of Earthfiles reports about the dragonfly drones in the Earthfiles Archive.

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A magnetosphere is that area of space, around a planet, that is controlled by the planet’s magnetic field. The shape of the Earth’s magnetosphere is the direct result of being blasted by solar wind. It prevents most of the particles from the Sun, carried in the solar wind, from hitting the Earth. The Sun and other planets have magnetospheres, but the Earth has the strongest one of all the rocky planets. The Earth’s magnetosphere is a highly dynamic structure that responds dramatically to solar variations. Life on Earth developed and is sustained under the protection of this variable magnetosphere.



Visiting Asteroid

Small asteroid to pass within 7,500 miles of the Earth on Monday, orbit to be altered

Published on June 24, 2011 4:30 am PT
– By Jim Duran – Writer
– Article Editor and Approved – Warren Miller

( — NASA says that a space rock will pass just 7,500 miles above Earth’s surface on Monday, June 27, 2011.

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Summer Solstice Notes

Celebrating the Solstices

by Cayelin K Castell

The Solstices mark the time of year when the Sun is rising and setting as far south (Winter Solstice) or as far North as possible before changing direction. When the Sun rises at its southern extreme in the Northern Hemisphere we have Winter Solstice. When the Sun rises at its northern extreme we have Summer Solstice.

The Sun at the Winter Solstice reaches an ending or death, dying to the previous yearly cycle. The Winter Solstice is marked by the longest night of the year, the shortest day. This time marks the beginning when the days slowly begin to lengthen and the nights slowly grow shorter.

The Sun at Sumer Solstice is reaching a point of fullness or the mid-point of the Solar Cycle. The Summer Solstice marks the longest day and the shortest night of the year and the turning point where the days slowly begin to shorten and the nights slowly begin to lengthen.

In the bigger picture, we are also ending a Great Year that has lasted nearly 26,000 years. That means this is time when we are witness to a new beginning of an entirely new 26,000 year cycle. The ending and beginning of a Great Year occurs over many years. We propose in Shamanic Astrology that it lasts at least 144 years as the processional cycle moves one degree every 72 years and these points are on at least some part of the Galactic Cross (the intersection of the plane of the Solar System with the plane of the Galaxy) for 72 years before and 72 years after the exact alignment.

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New Info on Sunspots Due Tuesday

‘Major Result’ on Sunspot Cycle to be Announced Tuesday

by Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Date: 10 June 2011 Time: 05:00 PM ET
A photo of a sunspot taken in May 2010, with Earth shown to scale. The image has been colorized for  aesthetic reasons. This image with 0.1 arcsecond resolution from the Swedish 1-m Solar  Telescope represents the limit of what is currently possible in te
A photo of a sunspot taken in May 2010, with Earth shown to scale. The image has been colorized for aesthetic reasons. This image with 0.1 arcsecond resolution from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope represents the limit of what is currently possible in terms of spatial resolution.
CREDIT: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, V.M.J. Henriques (sunspot), NASA Apollo 17 (Earth)

Astronomers will unveil a “major result” on Tuesday (June 14) regarding the sun’s 11-year sunspot cycle.

The announcement will be made at a solar physics conference in New Mexico, according to an alert released today (June 10) by the American Astronomical Society. The discussion will begin at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).

Sunspots are blotches on the sun that appear dark because they are significantly cooler than the rest of the solar surface. While they look small from our vantage point on Earth, these enigmatic structures can be huge — up to 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) across, or as wide as the planet Neptune. Sunspots last for a few days or weeks before dissipating. [Photos: Sunspots on Earth’s Star]

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Weekend Solar Blast

Large Detached Solar Prominence

by Stephen W. Ramsden

While displaying the Sun to 500+ kids and their families at the Virginia Highlands Summer Festival in Atlanta, GA, we were all witness to this incredible display of solar activity. Early in the morning a large magnetically supercharged chunk of Hydrogen Plasma was ejected from the limb of the Sun right before our eyes. It just hung there over the Sun almost 25 Earth Diameters high. It was breathtaking to watch and really got the attendees interested in our nearest star.

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Lunar Eclipse June 15

And The Moon Is Eclipsed By The Earth

by JASON MAJOR on MAY 31, 2011


The Moon grows dark during a total lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010/ Credit: Jason Major

On June 15 there will be a total lunar eclipse visible from Australia, Indonesia, southern Japan, India, a large area of Asia, Africa, Europe and the eastern part of South America. This is expected to be one of the darkest eclipses ever (with a magnitude of 1.7), second only to the July 2000 eclipse.

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