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This movie shows the formation of an individual galaxy that has been extracted from a much larger simulation. The region shown here is a 200 kiloparsec (kpc) cube centered on the forming galaxy. The simulated galaxy exhibits a rotationally supported disk structure, a feature that is characteristic of observed spiral galaxies. During the sequence a satellite galaxy orbits about the main galaxy similar to the way that the large and small Magellanic clouds orbit our own Milky Way galaxy.
The data are taken from a simulation by Frank Summers (Princeton University) which required 140 central processor unit (CPU) hours on a Cray YMP at San Diego Supercomputing Center. The simulation followed 262,144 gas particles and 262,144 dark matter particles (not shown in the movie) within a 16 megaparsec (Mpc) comoving region of the universe. The region in the movie represents only 0.003% of the full simulation, which simulates the formation of hundreds of galaxies, several groups of galaxies, and a small cluster of galaxies. A dynamic range of 1000 in length scales was achieved by using a fully Lagrangian gravity and smoothed particle hydrodynamics code. Visualization was done using the tool "4d2" developed at the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics at NCSA.
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