The universe hides many secrets. But thanks to technology, we can now have a better idea of how the universe has been transformed over the hundreds and hundreds of years after the Big Bang to what it is as we know it today.
A team of scientists from MIT, Harvard University, and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have created the most detailed and complete simulator of the formation process of the universe, which they have named Thesan, in honor of the goddess Etruscan sunrise, so that those interested can interact about what the “cosmic dawn” was like that has allowed the universe to form over time.
Knowing our universe better from its primitive stage
In this simulation, a realistic model of galaxy formation, called Illustris-TNG, has been used, which has proven to be capable of making accurate simulations of the properties and populations of evolving galaxies, in combination with a new algorithm capable of tracking how light interacts with gas, along with a model of cosmic dust.
Thanks to this, scientists will be able to simulate a portion of the universe, which covers 300 million light years in diameter, being able to move over time to know how that part of the universe has developed over hundreds and hundreds of years, being able to move between a period from 400,000 years after the Big Band to a billion years later.
Thanks to this simulator, it is now possible to better understand how certain processes of formation of the universe have developed, such as how far light can travel in the early universe, as well as knowing which galaxies were responsible for the reionization.
For Aaron Smith, a NASA Einstein Fellow at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research:
Thesan acts as a bridge to the early universe (…) It is intended to serve as an ideal simulation counterpart for upcoming observing facilities, which are poised to fundamentally alter our understanding of the cosmos
Regarding the early stages of cosmic reionization, in which the early universe was dark and homogeneous:
In principle, I could figure this out with pencil and paper (…) But at some point gravity starts to attract and collapse matter, slowly at first, but then so quickly that the calculations become too complicated and we have to do a full simulation
More information: MIT News