Gazing up at the sky can prove truly inspirational under the right conditions. On most parts of the Big Island, here in Hawaii, a combination of factors including low levels of light pollution and consistent ocean winds usually provide us with spectacular star gazing opportunities. Some of the best views can be had during night trips to the summit of Mauna Kea.
The research group including Professor Lucio Mayer of University of Zurich and astronomers from University of California created the galaxy formation simulation using supercomputer resources of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre and the NASA Colombia Cluster. Their work represents a significant breakthrough in our understanding of the dynamic formation of barred spiral galaxies much like the Milky Way.
Between Switzerland and California the project took 2 years of dedicated work and 5,000,000 CPU hours. That means it would have taken your average PC many hundreds of years to calculate.
In a separate video during an interview by Michele De Lorenzi, Mayer describes the process of creating the simulation and some of the difficulties that held back decades of attempts to successfully simulate formation of large complex galaxies.
This video provides a brief explanation of the size and scope of our galaxy.
(c) Ken Campbell and videojug.com