Scientists test model behind the formation of the Universe

Scientists test model behind the formation of the Universe

Over the past several decades, cosmologists have found themselves grappling with the unsettling proposition that our universe's composition is largely mysterious dark matter, accompanied by an even more peculiar dark energy field, which seemingly defies gravity to expedite the expansion of our present-day cosmos.


Scientists have embarked on a groundbreaking journey to test the model behind the formation of the universe. Experts are attempting to simulate the birth and evolution of galaxies and the formation of large-scale cosmic structures across vast expanses of space. The initial results of this awe-inspiring MillenniumTNG project, a milestone in cosmological research, have been made public through a series of 10 articles in the reputable journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The research team claims these novel calculations hold the potential to rigorously examine the standard cosmological model and unlock the hidden capabilities of future cosmological observations.


Scientists Test Model Behind the Formation of the Universe

Over the past several decades, cosmologists have found themselves grappling with the unsettling proposition that our universe’s composition is largely mysterious dark matter, accompanied by an even more peculiar dark energy field, which seemingly defies gravity to expedite the expansion of our present-day cosmos.

The conventional matter, known as baryonic matter, accounts for less than five percent of the cosmic blend. Nonetheless, this material forms the crux of the stars and planets in galaxies, including our own Milky Way. This esoteric cosmological model is popularly referred to as LCDM and has consistently offered satisfactory descriptions of numerous observational data, from the cosmic microwave radiation—the residual heat left by the Big Bang—to the “cosmic web,” an intricate matrix of dark matter filaments lining the galaxies.

Despite its success, the physical reality of dark matter and dark energy remains elusive, prompting astrophysicists to search for discrepancies in the LCDM theory.

In Pursuit of Clarity: Bridging Observational Data and LCDM Model

The detection of inconsistencies in the observational data could pave the way towards a deeper comprehension of the universe’s fundamental enigmas. This requires an equilibrium of powerful, new observational data and more nuanced predictions about what the LCDM model actually implies.


An international coalition of researchers hailing from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), Harvard University in the U.S., Durham University in the U.K., and the Donostia International Physics Center in Spain, in collaboration with York University, has taken a decisive leap forward in meeting this challenge.

The Novel Suite of Simulation Models: MillenniumTNG

Building upon the triumphs of their prior projects—Millennium and IllustrisTNG—the team has devised a fresh set of simulation models, christened as MillenniumTNG. These models trace the physics of cosmic structure formation with a significantly higher statistical accuracy than previous calculations permitted.

To conduct the largest high-resolution dark matter simulations to date, the team employed the advanced cosmological code GADGET-4, tailored specifically for this project. The simulations encompass a region nearly 10 billion light-years in extent. In addition, they used the moving-mesh hydrodynamical code AREPO to track galaxy formation processes directly across such colossal volumes that they can be deemed representative of the universe at large.

Comparisons and Precise Assessments: Uncovering the Universe’s Mysteries

The juxtaposition of both simulation types enables a precise evaluation of the impact of baryonic processes related to supernova explosions and supermassive black holes on the overall matter distribution. Accurate knowledge of this distribution is integral to correctly interpreting forthcoming observations, such as weak gravitational lensing effects, which are sensitive to matter, irrespective of its dark or baryonic type.

On another groundbreaking note, the team incorporated massive neutrinos in their simulations for the first time. Although neutrinos represent at most one to two percent of the dark matter mass and their nearly relativistic speeds predominantly prevent them from clumping together, the imminent cosmological surveys (like those of the recently launched Euclid satellite of the European Space Agency) are anticipated to reach a precision that allows detection of the associated percent-level effects.

High Stakes and High Hopes: MillenniumTNG

The team carried out their MillenniumTNG simulations on two extremely powerful supercomputers, SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center in Garching, and the Cosma8 machine at Durham University. The project tracks the formation of approximately one hundred million galaxies in a universe region around 2,400 million light-years across. This calculation marks a fifteen-fold increase from the previous best in this category, the TNG300 model from the IllustrisTNG project.


Unveiling the First Results: MillenniumTNG Offers Promising Predictions

The inaugural results of the MillenniumTNG project reveal a plethora of novel theoretical predictions, underlining the importance of computer simulations in contemporary cosmology. The team has composed and submitted ten introductory scientific papers for the project. Eight of these have been published simultaneously in MNRAS, with the remaining two on the verge of release.

A Glimpse into the Future: MillenniumTNG’s Pioneering Role

The MillenniumTNG simulations have generated over three Petabytes of data, promising a treasure trove for future research. These simulations combine recent advancements in galaxy formation simulation with the field of cosmic large-scale structure, enhancing theoretical modeling of the link between galaxies and the universe’s dark matter backbone. This could play a vital role in advancing our understanding of cosmology’s key questions, such as the best method to constrain neutrino mass with large-scale structure data.

PLEASE READ: Have something to add? Visit Curiosmos on Facebook. Join the discussion in our mobile Telegram group. Also, follow us on Google News. Interesting in history, mysteries, and more? Visit Ancient Library’s Telegram group and become part of an exclusive group.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch