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13.7 Billion Years of Galaxy Formation in 46 Seconds

NGC 2207 and IC 216

Image credit: NASA/Hubble Space Telescope. Collision of spiral galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163.

Galaxies are thought to be vast systems consisting of planets, stars, dust, gas as well as dark matter which are bound together by gravity. Based on scientific estimation, there are as many as 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe and their sizes are different, ranging from tens of millions of stars to one hundred trillion stars. The interactions with neighboring galaxies and regular dramatic galactic collisions are the main causes of the shape and composition of a galaxy. The Milky Way–our own galaxy is said to take shape because of the collision with Andromeda, our neighbor in the universe.

By application of much powerful supercomputers, scientists can turn back time virtually in an effort to simulate the formation and growth of galaxies from shortly after the Big Bang.

It is believed by scientists that galaxies might begin their life as spinning clouds of stars and dust going on through space. When fast-moving clouds step into each other’s path, they eventually are intertwined and spiral into larger systems. As a result, constant collisions are able to send material running so rapidly to form galaxy, thus producing star filled spiral arms.

If you want to watch such galaxy formation unfolded in 46 seconds, you are kindly suggested to turn to the new simulation by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which can clearly show 13.7 billion years of galactic evolution in less a minute.

Source: IFLScience

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  • Courtney Seligman

    The second galaxy is not IC 216, but IC 2163

    • luyaojxplyq

      This has been corrected. Thank you very much for the note.