Data Visualization  

MPA Homepage > Scientific Research > Research Groups > Galaxy Formation > Data Visualization

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-Large-scale structure
-Clusters of galaxies
-Flying through clusters
-Flying through filaments
-4D Universe
-Flying through universe
-Individual galaxies
-Movie formats

-3D-View of cosmic structure

Visualization of Computer Simulations:

On this page, you may download movies and images that we produced from our numerical simulations. You are welcome to use this material for illustrative purposes in talks or posters.

Note however that the selection below is not complete. Additional visualization material can be found on the pages that describe indididual projects in more detail, e.g.:

link The Millennium Simulation Project
link The Hubble Volume Project
link Intermediate-Scale Simulations
link Higher Resolution Simulations in smaller boxes
We have loosely grouped the available movies and images into different categories. Note however that both the simulation and visualization techniques employed in each case may vary widely within each category.

Also note that the images contained on this page are only a small selection from our pool of simulation pictures. Further material with more detailed explanations of the scientific background of each simulation can be found on the pages of individual projects.

Copyright statement:

When material of this page is used, credit has to be given to the author(s) as well as to the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics.

Movies of large-scale structure in the Universetop

Millennium Movie

This movie shows the dark matter distribution in the universe at the present time, based on the Millennium Simulation, the largest N-body simulation carried out thus far (more than 1010 particles). By zooming in on a massive cluster of galaxies, the movie highlights the morphology of the structure on different scales, and the large dynamic range of the simulation (105 per dimension in 3D). The zoom extends from scales of several Gpc down to resolved substructures as small as ~10 kpc.

movie High Quality [divx5, 48.6 MB, 1024x768]
movie Medium Quality [divx5, 13.4 MB, 640x480]
movie Low Quality [divx5, 10.8 MB, 512x384]

movie Slow Zoom [divx5, 165.6 MB, 1024x768]

Credit: Springel et al. (Virgo Consortium)
Simulation code: Gadget-2





LSS Movie

This animation shows the formation of large-scale sturcture in the dark matter distribution, from redshift z=20 to the present time. The movie is centered on a forming rich cluster of galaxies.

movie Color scheme 1 [divx5, 11.1 MB, 1024x768]
movie Color scheme 1 [divx5, 7.4 MB, 640x480]
movie Color scheme 2 [divx5, 11.1 MB, 1024x768]
movie Color scheme 2 [divx5, 7.4 MB, 640x480]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Hydra









virtual fly-through

Enjoy a virtual fly-through! This movie travels though the dark matter distribution in one of our GIF simulation boxes.

movie GIF fly-through [mpeg-2, 12.2 MB, 768x576]
movie GIF fly-through [divx5, 16.2 MB, 640x480]

Credit: Joerg Colberg (Encoding: Springel)






constrained realization

This visualization shows our "Local Universe", as simulated in the constrained realization project. The Local Group is in the centre of the sphere. In the initial orientation of the sphere, the Great Attractor is on the left, and the Cetus Wall on the lower right.

movie Contrained realization [divx5, 20.5 MB, 400x400]
movie Contrained realization [mpeg-2, 10.3 MB, 576x576]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Gadget




Movies of clusters of galaxiestop

Cluster MovieThis high-resolution animation shows the formation of a rich cluster of galaxies from cosmological initial conditions. The simulation follows dark matter and baryonic gas.

movie Cluster Movie [divx5, 112 MB, 960x640]
movie Just dark matter [divx5, 34 MB, 768x768]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Gadget-2




virtual fly-throughThe dark matter substructure in a cluster at redshift z=0.

movie Rotating cluster [divx5, 10.8 MB, 576x576]
movie Rotating cluster [mpeg-2, 17.1 MB, 576x576]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Gadget






virtual fly-throughFormation of a magnetized galaxy cluster.

movie Magnetized cluster [quicktime, 8.1 MB, 320x240]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Grape-MSPH







cluster formationFormation of a galaxy cluster in the tCDM GIF simulation. (starting redshift z=20)

movie Cluster movie [mpeg-1, 900 kB, 272x272]
movie Cluster movie [mpeg-2, 4.2 MB, 576x576]

Credit: Joerg Colberg
Simulation code: Hydra




Flying through a galaxy clustertop

flying plasma Flying through the hot plasma atmosphere of a galaxy clusters, reveling the richness of substructure and their dynamics during the formation of the largest gravitational bound objects in the universe. When falling into the cluster, the galaxies are losing their gaseous atmosphere (appearing in white), forming comet-like features of gas trails. Due to tidal forces these trails sometimes get deformed into arc-like structures.

Flight through cluster visualizing temperature:

movie Final state [mpeg-4, 26.7 MB, 800x800]
movie Evolving [mpeg-4, 26.1 MB, 800x800]

Flight through cluster visualizing density:

movie Evolving [mpeg-4, 23.9 MB, 800x800]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch







evolution cluster The evolution of a galaxy cluster from very early times on. The vizualisation starts when the universe has just 5% of its actual age, and the first galaxies are forming (about z=6). The light would need about 30 millions of years to pass the region of space shown. Shown is the temperature of the plasma, which fills the space between stars and galaxies. At z about 3.5 the universe has 15% of its actual age and the forming large-scale structure (filaments) can be clearly recognized. The inlay down in the right shows a zoom into the interior of one of the two prominent protoclusters. In such structures (clusters of galaxies) several thousands of galaxies can be bound by gravity. At z about 0.8 the universe is half as old as now and the two prominent protoclusters begin to merge into one galaxy cluster. Such events are the most energetic phenomena since universe was born in the Big Bang. In the final phase of this merging event a gigantic shockwave is initiated, releasing enormous amount of energy.

The second movie shows a more quietly forming galaxy cluster.

movie Merging cluster [mpeg-4, 35.9 MB, 800x800]
movie Quiet cluster [mpeg-4, 35.4 MB, 800x800]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch







flying cluster Flight through a high resolution simulation of a galaxy cluster. After zooming into the cluster, the flight follows an orbit around the center. Visible are prominent structure within the hot plasma, building the atmosphere of the cluster. Some of the structures inside the cluster are able to maintain an self-bound atmosphere for a while (shown in light blue). The population of free floating stars, which originate from destroyed galaxies show prominent stripes as imprint of the orbits of the former galaxies they belong to. Despite such destruction, more than thousand of individual galaxies can still be identified within the cluster, even forming new stars in their centers (shown in dark blue). Only a small number of them are still maintaining an own, hot, self-bound atmosphere (shown in light blue). For the zoom out all stars formed within the simulation are shown.

movie English version [mpeg-4, 79.4 MB, 1024x768]
movie German version [mpeg-4, 79.4 MB, 1024x768]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch






Flying through a filamenttop

flying filament Flight through a evolving cosmic structure (filament) which connects several galaxy clusters. The gas between the galaxy clusters is visualized in colors ranging from brown to light blue, the stars formed within the simulation are colored from purple to white. The first movie shows a large field of view and evolves only slow in time. The second movie capture a fast fly through the final structure with a more narrow field of view.

movie Filament (larg field of view) [mpeg-4, 7.8 MB, 1032x310]
movie Filament (fast fly throght) [mpeg-4, 5.6 MB, 700x524]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch







The 4D Universetop

4d universe Flying through a evolving cosmic structure, starting at early times (the so called dark ages), where the material in the universe is in a cold and neutral state. First objects collapse and form the first proto galaxies embedded in a heated atmosphere, hosting the first stars and QSOs. The energetic light from those stars/QSOs heat and ionize the material in the universes (note that this simulation takes this not self consistently into account, but uses a uniform, time dependent background radiation field), revealing the fine, filamentary structures formed so far. Now, lager and larger structures form within a long and violent process of merging of smaller structures leading to the largest objects observed in the present universe, the so called galaxy clusters, still connected to each other by filamentary structures. At the end, the movie zooms down to a spiral galaxy, similar to what we expect the Milky Way looks like, for a final fly-by. In this case the galaxy is artificial constructed from an astronomical image, as it is still impossible to obtain such detailed and realistic galaxies directly within cosmological simulations. This movie is also shown in the Virtual Reality facility of the new Turin Planetarium.

movie 4D universe (first demo version) [asf, 189.6 MB, 1024x768]

Credit: Klaus Dolag, Claudio Gheller and Silvani Imboden
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch


Flying through the "Local Universe"top

flying universe Same simulation as done in the constrained realization project but including diffuse baryons. Visualized is the gas temperature. Structures which can be identified directly with observed galaxy clusters are labeled.

movie Local Universe [mpeg-4, 30.3 MB, 800x800]

Credit: Klaus Dolag
Simulation code: Gadget-2
Vizualisation code: Splotch





Movies of individual galaxiestop

galaxy collisionThis movie shows two colliding and merging spiral galaxies. The simulation follows dark matter, gas, and a stellar component, but only the baryonic component is visualized.

movie Galaxy collision [divx5, 4.2 MB, 576x576]
movie Galaxy collision [mpeg-2, 13.9 MB, 576x576]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Gadget





galaxy collision

The formation of a "galactic fountain" in a forming disk galaxy. The simulation includes a model for star formation and galactic winds. In this particular galaxy, the winds generated by ongoing star formation are confined by the gravitational potential of the dark matter halo, giving rise to a "galaxtic fountain".

movie Galactic fountain [mpeg-2, 48.2 MB, 416x416]

Credit: Volker Springel
Simulation code: Gadget






galaxy formation in pancakesThis animation shows galaxies forming in a "pancake".

movie Forming galaxies [mpeg-1, 2.1 MB, 320x240]
movie Zoom into galaxies [mpeg-1, 1.7 MB, 320x240]

Credit: Matthias Steinmetz
Simulation code: GrapeSPH






galaxy formation in pancakes

These movies shows the evolution of halos with quiescent and violent merging histories, respectively.

movie Quiescent history [mpeg-1, 2.3 MB, 240x288]
movie Violent history [mpeg-1, 2.9 MB, 240x288]

Credit: Matthias Steinmetz
Simulation code: GrapeSPH






Technical notes on movie formatstop

The movies above are encoded in a variety of different formats, ranging from MPEG-1 to MPEG-4 (divx). Depending on your system, you may have to install additional software to properly play them, and on some systems, playback may not be possible at all, unfortunately.

On Linux, you can play all formats using the external linkMplayer application. For divx5 support, you should first install the external linkdivx5-codec (free), and then compile Mplayer.

On Windows, you can also install the free external linkdivx5 package, which also contains a player application. The quicktime format can be played using the external linkquicktime player from Apple. MPEG-1/2 playback should be possible with software DVD-player applications.

On Mac OS, the free version of external linkdivx5 should allow a playback of our movies in the built-in quicktime player.


Pictures of high-resolution simulations of clusters of galaxiestop

Cluster PictureA very high-resolution simulation of a cluster of galaxies (about 20 million particles within the virial radius).

link1024 x 1024, png format 0.47 MB
link512 x 512, png format 400 kB

Credit: Volker Springel







Cluster PictureThe dark matter substructure in a rich galaxy cluster.

link1500 x 1500, jpeg format 0.56 MB
link512 x 512, jpeg format 85 kB





Cosmic structure viewed in 3Dtop


Cluster PictureStructure formation in the gaseous component of the universe, in a simulation box 100 Mpc/h on a side. From left to right: z=6, z=2, and z=0. Formed stellar material is shown in yellow.

link2160 x 1400, png format 2.5 MB
link1083 x 702, png format 1.7 MB
link740 x 480, png format 960 kB

Credit: Volker Springel




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