Astronomers Create An Entire Universe, Then Tackle Reddit [Videos]

Before taking on the challenge of a Q&A with Reddit users, a multinational team of astronomers created their very own universe. Of course, it was a simulated universe, but the simulation creates realistic galaxies that are extraordinarily similar to real galaxies. The astronomers from Durham University and Leiden University in the Netherlands used the Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments (EAGLE) project for their simulation of the universe. Inquisitr featured all of the details of the astronomers’ universe in a previous article.

What mostly sets this universe apart from other, less realistic universe simulations, according to Cosmos Up, is that this universe includes strong galactic winds blowing between galaxies and “powered” by supernova explosions, black holes, and stars. Cosmos Up explained that the EAGLE project is expansive enough to include 10,000 galaxies.

“The EAGLE (Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments) project utilizes calculations for modeling structural formations in cosmological volume, featuring 100 Megaparsecs on a side.”

“As that is equivalent to more than 300 million light-years, the EAGLE project is large enough for 10,000 galaxies, each one at least the size of the Milky Way. To compare galaxies, the project referred to the Hubble Deep field.”

The researchers believe that their universe contains the most accurate simulation of galaxies currently available, according to Space.com. According to the astronomers’ website, after publishing a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the team gained a significant amount of press. Then, as if creating a simulated universe wasn’t enough, the EAGLE team took on Reddit.

“We have done a /r/science AMA, where lots of people asked us questions about the simulation. To take a look at the questions, and our answers to them, head over to reddit.com/r/science.”

On Reddit, the astronomers, or cosmologists, take on questions from the public like, “What is the smallest entity represented in your simulation?”

“Clusters of stars — like the globular clusters in the milky way — of 1 million solar masses[.]”

The astronomers also explained how extraordinarily powerful their computers are in order to simulate a universe.

“The computers used are ‘The Cosmology Machine 5’ (COSMA5) and [‘Curie‘]… COSMA5 has the equivalent processing power of 10000 laptops, and they communicate by 5000 Megabytes per second — all working together to simulate the Universe!”

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On Reddit, the scientists tackled scientific questions and even perception questions. In one question, a Reddit user asked for an analogy that could be used to help people comprehend the vast scope of the Universe.

“Expressing a cosmological volume in terms of how many galaxies (like the Milky Way, say) it contains may be helpful. So the observable Universe is thought to contain about 100 billion galaxies more massive than the Milky Way.”

The astronomers even addressed one Reddit user concerned about the implications of simulating a universe who asked if we were in a simulated universe.

“You don’t need to worry! We’ve only simulated down to scales that are about 1 million solar masses (and that’s quite big). So the implications aren’t that scary apart from arguments at conferences. As for the ‘are we in a simulation’ — I’ll leave that to the philosophers, but if we were in a simulation (and they used EAGLE) they’d need an infinitely big computer, so it doesn’t seem too likely.”