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Galaxy Evolution and Gravitational Waves, Part I

4 Apr 2014, 01:40 UTC
Galaxy Evolution and Gravitational Waves, Part I
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Much has been said on previous blog posts here about how computer models of galaxy evolution, which are being refined and improved by the Hubble Space Telescope’s observations collectively known as CANDELS, contribute to our overall understanding of the universe. The numbers, types, shapes, sizes, and large-scale clustering properties of galaxies throughout cosmic history can at times be predicted with an astonishing accuracy. When predictions from computations of galaxy evolution do not line up well with observations, then, happily, we have a clue that something remains to be discovered. (A now classic example is the so-called missing satellite problem: simulations predict many more dwarf galaxies surrounding other galaxies than are actually observed. Are they as yet undiscovered, or is our understanding of dark matter structures – on which galaxy simulations rely – extremely flawed?)The Arecibo Telscope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor used this facility to make the first indirectdetection of gravitational waves in 1975. A direct detectionwould help astronomers learn about how often galaxies mergethroughout the history of the universe.A very nice spinoff of having a digital universe of growing, colliding, re-shaping, and color-changing galaxies is that these simulations can be used to make predictions in an entirely different area ...

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