The FIRE collaboration: harnessing computing to observe galaxy formation over the life-span of the universe

CITA director Norm Murray is a member of the FIRE Collaboration producing simulations to address questions in galaxy formation with unprecedented predictive power.


This video is a realistic simulation of the formation and evolution of a Milky Way-type galaxy over the life-span of the universe, from shortly after the Big Bang up to the present day. The simulation works as an experiment and shows how stars drive large scale gas outflows from the galaxy, removing gas from the host galaxy, and therefore limiting the amount of gas that turns into stars over the age of the universe.

The movie was made by Phil Hopkins as part of the FIRE Project, which uses large scale simulations with realistic representations of the effects of stars on the gas in and around galaxies.


In the simulation, and in the still image the temperature is colour-coded. Red = 1 million + degrees K, green = 10,000 K, purple = 10 K. The redshift or z is shown in the upper left hand corner; z=30 corresponds to a time about 100 million years after the Big Bang, while z=0 corresponds to the present day, a little less than 14 billion years after the Big Bang.

The region shown is about 200,000 parsecs (or about 600,000 light-years) on a side.

The FIRE project homepage
more about the work of the fire collaboration on the Universe Today blog

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