G292.0+1.8; an oxygen rich supernova remnant 20,000 light years away in the direction of the constellation Centaurus. Supernovas create most the elements in the universe heavier than hydrogen, their remnants often condense to form new stars and planets. Most of the atoms of our bodies, the earth, oceans and atmosphere were formed billions of years ago in objects like this one.
“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”
A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times, may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes of nature.
"The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes."
The living cell is the most complex system of its size known to mankind. Its host of specialized molecules, many found nowhere else but within living material, are themselves already enormously complex. They execute a dance of exquisite fidelity, orchestrated with breathtaking precision. Vastly more elaborate than the most complicated ballet, the dance of life encompasses countless molecular performers in synergetic coordination. Yet this is a dance with no sign of a choreographer. No intelligent supervisor, no mystic force, no conscious controlling agency swings the molecules into place at the right time, chooses the appropriate players, closes the links, uncouples the partners, moves them on. The dance of life is spontaneous, self-sustaining, and self-creating.
Scientists at MIT have developed a new simulation that traces 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. They start the simulation shortly after the big bang with a region of space much smaller than the universe (a mere 350 million light years across). Still, it’s big enough to follow the forces that helped create the galaxies we see today, and correctly predict the gas and metal content of those galaxies.
At first, we see dark matter clustering due to the force of gravity (first two GIFs). Then we see visible matter — blue for cool clouds of gas where galaxies form, red for more violent explosive galaxies (second two GIFs).
Super massive blackholes form, superheating the material around them, causing bright white explosions that enrich the space between galaxies with warm but sparse gas (fifth GIF).
Different elements (represented by different colors in the sixth GIF) are spread through the universe.
We arrive at a distribution of dark matter that looks similar to the one we see in our universe today (seventh GIF).
The simulation is so complex it would take two thousand years to render on a single desktop. And it’s kinda beautiful.
Scroll to your hearts content from the Planck length to the diameter of the observable universe - click on any object and it will open an info box - I can’t imagine how much work must have gone into this. A few surprising things: Pluto has a smaller diameter than the width of the USA and Vatican city can fit in central park multiple times.