JWST Fulldome Science Simulation: Galaxy Collision
The Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) collaborated with NASA and Drs. Brant Robertson and Lars Hernquist to visualise two colliding galaxies that interact and merge into a single elliptical galaxy over a period spanning two billion years of evolution.
AVL rendered more than 80 gigabytes of data using in-house rendering software and Virtual Director for camera choreography. This computation provides important research to understand galaxy mergers, and once operational, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will provide data to test such theories.
When two large disk-shaped galaxies merge — as will happen within the next few billion years with the Milky Way galaxy and its largest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy — the result will likely settle into a cloud-shaped elliptical galaxy. Most elliptical galaxies observed today formed from collisions that occurred billions of years ago. It is difficult to observe such collisions now with ground-based telescopes since these collisions are billions of light-years away. JWST will probe in unprecedented detail those distant epochs, and provide exquisite images of mergers caught in the act of destroying disk galaxies.Credit:
Theofanis Matsopoulos/NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, B. Robertson, L. Hernquist/ESO