The biggest and most complex simulation of the whole universe

The multinational team of physicists worked for several years on the project of simulation of the universe and, finally, it came to an end. Meet IllustrisTNG, perhaps the most complex model of the universe to date.

Such projects are not a beautiful installation or an educational project, but a working tool. IllustrisTNG allows researchers to recreate the formation and evolution of galaxies over time, or simulate huge structures, like magnetic fields, or see how dark matter and heavy elements are distributed throughout the universe.

It is worth noting that such simulations are not perfect models of the real universe, each of them contains its shortcomings. IllustrisTNG, for example, has a cubic form, and it is much smaller than our universe, here every facet is just a billion light years away.

Nevertheless, such projects are still important, they help scientists understand how the universe works, test theories and hypotheses, and also understand how to actually find those effects that the researchers saw only in simulations. In three articles published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, physicists described how black holes affect star formation, and how galaxies form and merge. In reality, it is difficult to notice traces of a collision of galaxies, but simulation can push astronomers to search in the right direction.