It is easy to get lost in the beauty and awe of the universe, in its amazing structure of stars and galaxies. But how did the universe evolve into this structure?
The very early universe consisted of homogeneous gas with tiny perturbations. As it cooled over time, the gas clumped together due to gravity and collapsed to form galaxies. To better understand the process of galaxy cluster formation, researchers at the University of California, San Diego and colleagues modeled a region of the universe and simulated its collapse.
“We use cosmology simulations to better understand the things we actually see with our telescopes and to reduce statistical errors on estimates of cosmological parameters,” says collaborating astrophysicist Brian O’Shea of Michigan State University. “Simulations are a necessary part of understanding what we see.”