Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

“Auriga” project helps uncover the history of galaxies

08.06.2017

A research team led by HITS scientist Robert Grand ran 36 simulations of Milky Ways on German supercomputers, for the first time including the magnetic fields that permeate the gas and dust between the stars.

Thousands of processors, terabytes of data, and months of computing time have helped a group of researchers in Germany create some of the largest and highest resolution simulations ever made of galaxies like our Milky Way.


The magnetic field strength in the present day. Streamlines indicate the direction of the magnetic field lines.

Credit: Robert J. J. Grand, Facundo A. Gomez, Federico Marinacci, Ruediger Pakmor, Volker Springel, David J. R. Campbell, Carlos S. Frenk, Adrian Jenkins and Simon D. M. White.


F.l.t.r.: Projected gas density of the galaxy environment about 10 billion years ago. Bird’s eye view of the gas disc in the present day. Side-on view of the same gas disc in the present day.

Credit: Robert J. J. Grand, Facundo A. Gomez, Federico Marinacci, Ruediger Pakmor, Volker Springel, David J. R. Campbell, Carlos S. Frenk, Adrian Jenkins and Simon D. M. White.

The work of the Auriga Project, led by Dr. Robert Grand of the Theoretical Astrophysics group at HITS (Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies), now appears in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society”. The results have been achieved in one subproject of the collaborative research center 881, “The Milky Way System”, of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Astronomers study our own and other galaxies with telescopes and simulations, in an effort to piece together their structure and history. Spiral galaxies like the Milky Way are thought to contain several hundred billion stars, as well as copious amounts of gas and dust.

The spiral shape is commonplace, with a massive black hole at the center, surrounded by a bulge of old stars, and arms winding outwards where relatively young stars like the Sun are found. However, understanding how systems like our Galaxy came into being continues to remain a key question in the history of the cosmos.

The enormous range of scales (for example, stars, the building blocks of galaxies, are each about one trillion times smaller in mass than the galaxy they make up), as well as the complex physics involved, presents a formidable challenge for any computer model. A group of international scientists from HITS (Germany), Durham University (UK), Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Germany) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) have tackled this obstacle.

Using the Hornet/Hazel Hen (Stuttgart) and SuperMUC (Garching) supercomputers in Germany, the team ran simulations of 30 different Milky Ways at high resolution, of which 6 were ran at very high resolution for even more details. The simulations ran for several months and used approx.

18 million CPU hours in total. For their simulations the researchers used the “AREPO” code, developed by HITS researcher and group leader Prof. Volker Springel, which enables scientists to simulate a wide range of galaxy shapes and sizes with unique precision and includes one of the most comprehensive physics models to date.

The code includes phenomena such as gravity, star formation, hydrodynamics of gas, supernova explosions, and for the first time the magnetic fields that permeate the interstellar medium, more precisely, the gas and dust between the stars. Black holes also grew in the simulation, feeding on the gas around them, and releasing energy into the wider galaxy.

“Astronomers will now be able to use our work to access a wealth of information”

The wide range of physics in the simulations provides valuable insight and predictions for many aspects of galactic astronomy: “The outcome of the Auriga Project is that astronomers will now be able to use our work to access a wealth of information, such as the properties of the satellite galaxies and the very old stars found in the halo that surrounds the galaxy.”, says HITS researcher Robert Grand. “In addition, we are able to follow the growth of magnetic fields and probe how they affect the properties of gas and vice versa.”

The team also sees that smaller galaxies can spiral into the Milky Way galaxy early in its history, in a process that could have created large spiral discs.

Grand adds: “For a spiral galaxy to grow in size, it needs a substantial supply of fresh star-forming gas around its edges – smaller gas-rich galaxies that spiral gently into ours can provide exactly that.”

The scientists will now combine the results of the Auriga Project work with data in surveys from observatories like the Gaia mission, to better understand how mergers and collisions shaped galaxies like our own.

Media Contact:
Dr. Peter Saueressig
HITS, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
+49 (0)6221 533 245
peter.saueressig@h-its.org

Science Contact:
Dr. Robert Grand
Theoretical Astrophysics group (TAP)
HITS Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Germany
+49 (0)6221 533 326, cell: +49 (0)162 771 7156
robert.grand@h-its.org

Reference:
“The Auriga Project: The Properties and Formation Mechanisms of Disc Galaxies Across Cosmic Time,” Robert J. J. Grand et al., 2017 May, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 467, pp. 179-207 [ https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/mnras/stx071, preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.01159].

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.h-its.org/scientific-news/auriga-project-milky-way/ HITS press release
http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/2994-biggest-ever-simulations-help-uncover-... Press release of the Royal Astronomcal Society
https://www.h-its.org/tap-software-de/arepo-code/ AREPO Code
http://sci.esa.int/gaia/ Gaia mission

Dr. Peter Saueressig | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions
18.12.2018 | Eindhoven University of Technology

nachricht NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate
18.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>