Skip to content

ALPHA PROJECTS | Contents | Next

The Back Cover: Computational Cosmology


Gravitational collapse of initially small-amplitude density fluctuations of "dark matter" is thought to have led to formation of the large-scale structure seen in the universe today. The simulation visualized here is embedded in a cube 64 megaparsecs (209 million light years) on a side at present, and models dark matter and gaseous components. The large structure in the center is a massive central galaxy cluster (the Santa Barbara Cluster), which could contain on the order of 1,000 galaxies. Translucent isocontours trace gas density, increasing in magnitude from blue to yellow. Spheres represent a sampling of the simulated gas particles; the larger and bluer the spheres, the lower the density of the gas particles. Black line segments show the direction and velocity away from the particles. The surfaces highlight the filamentary and sheet-like structures punctuated by large clusters that galaxies trace out in real-world observations of the large-scale structure of the universe. The simulations were developed by Paul Shapiro and Hugo Martel of the Galaxy Formation and the Intergalactic Medium Research Group at the University of Texas. The visualization was produced at the Center for Computational Visualization at the University of Texas, using image rendering software created by Chandrajit Bajaj's group that is being integrated into the Scalable Visualization Toolkits alpha project. See page 8 of this issue. *