Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Galaxies, General Astronomy > Astrophysicists Launch Ambitious Assessment Of Galaxy Formation Simulations

Astrophysicists Launch Ambitious Assessment Of Galaxy Formation Simulations


One of the most powerful tools for understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies has been the use of computer simulations–numerical models of astrophysical processes run on supercomputers and compared with astronomical observations. Getting computer simulations to produce realistic-looking galaxies has been a challenge, however, and different codes (simulation programs) produce inconsistent results.

Now, an international collaboration led by astrophysicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, aims to resolve these issues through an ambitious multi-year project named AGORA (Assembling Galaxies of Resolved Anatomy). AGORA will run direct comparisons of different codes using a common set of initial conditions and astrophysical assumptions. Each code treats some aspects of the physics differently, especially the way that energy from stars and supernovas is fed back into the simulated galaxies. The simulations are being run at the best resolutions currently possible, and they are using the same input physics as much as possible. The simulation results will be systematically compared with each other and against a variety of observations using a common analysis and visualization tool.

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