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Bolshoi Simulator Maps Galaxies' Dark Matter Halos

from the San Francisco Chronicle

In a new step toward understanding the cosmic forces that shape the universe, scientists at UC Santa Cruz have harnessed the power of a NASA supercomputer to create a detailed vision of galaxies like our Milky Way forming under the mysterious forces of dark matter and dark energy.

The simulation confirms the accuracy of models that astronomers have developed to explain how the Big Bang sparked the origin of the subatomic particles and galaxies that populate our expanding universe, said cosmologist Joel Primack, a leader of the simulation project at UC Santa Cruz

Named Bolshoi--for the Russian word meaning "grand" or "great"--the simulation has taken four years to develop. It will provide astronomers around the world with new guides for observing and describing the most distant galaxies that telescopes can see, Primack said.

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