What does 8,000 CPUs running for three months get you? Well, if you’re an astronomer, it gets you the most realistic simulation of our universe ever made. The video produced by the supercomputers show off a pretty amazing look at the cosmos. It also gives researchers a tool to test theories.

Directly observing the universe is the gold standard for astronomers. Problems creep into their research when they want to observe objects far away. Distance and time become a serious issue. The distance the light has to travel equals the events happened a long time ago. Millions of years in cases.

MIT and Harvard teamed up to create a virtual universe to study and toss theories at. Want an element to be a little higher and see the effect? Just crunch the numbers and it renders a whole new look. You won’t find the Milky Way inside the simulation, but researchers found a galaxy close enough. They heralded the fact the virtual universe so closely mirrored the one we observe.

So, what do we get out of this? Unfortunately a Stargate isn’t in the cards. If they ever do make one, sign me up. For the average person, we get a really cool YouTube video to look at. For scientists with enough degrees to wallpaper their house, they get a research tool to play with. Dark matter, black holes, you name it. They can adjust the settings and see what could have possibly happened.

Check out the video below. It’s worth the four minutes.

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