The Bolshoi simulation reveals a cosmic web of dark matter that underlies the large-scale structure of the universe and, through its gravitational effects on ordinary matter, drives the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters. The image is a slice of the entire simulation, 1 billion light-years across and about 30 million light-years thick. (Credit: Stefan Gottlober (AIP))
The Bolshoi supercomputer simulation, the most accurate and detailed large cosmological simulation run to date, gives physicists and astronomers a powerful new tool for understanding such cosmic mysteries as galaxy formation, dark matter, and dark energy.
The simulation traces the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe, including the evolution and distribution of the dark matter halos in which galaxies coalesced and grew. Initial studies show good agreement between the simulation’s predictions and astronomers’ observations.
“In one sense, you might think the initial results are a little boring, because they basically show that our standard cosmological model works,” said Joel Primack, distinguished professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “What’s exciting is that we now have this highly accurate simulation that will provide the basis for lots of important new studies in the months and years to come.” Continue Reading