North Scientists Are (Big) Bang on Target; Formation of Early Galaxies Recreated

The Journal (Newcastle, England), February 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

North Scientists Are (Big) Bang on Target; Formation of Early Galaxies Recreated


Byline: Nicola Juncar

NORTH East experts have reconstructed the universe after the Big Bang. Durham University scientists have attempted to recreate the formation of galaxies 500 million years after the Universe was born.

According to the experts, the green, swirly pictures they created with computer simulations show the "Cosmic Dawn" - the formation of the first big galaxies. Galaxies began to form out of the debris of massive stars which died explosively shortly after the beginning of the universe.

The Durham calculation predicts where these galaxies appeared and how they have evolved to the present day, more than 13 billion years later.

Researchers hope their findings will improve their understanding of dark matter - a mysterious substance believed to make up 80% of the universe.

The research has been published by the Royal Astronomical Society and was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Commission.

Lead author, Alvaro Orsi, a research postgraduate in Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), said: "We are effectively looking back in time and, by doing so, we hope to learn how galaxies like our own were made and to understand more about dark matter.

"The presence of dark matter is the key to building galaxies - without dark matter we wouldn't be here today."

Co-author Dr Carlton Baugh, a Royal Society Research Fellow in the ICC, said: "Our research predicts which galaxies are growing through the formation of stars at different times in the history of the universe and how these relate to the dark matter. …

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