Astrophysicists from Northwestern University recently published the results of their long-term research. Scientists say that the conclusions of their work are unambiguous: about 50% of the matter, of which we are all and all that surrounds us, comes from distant galaxies. It's about ordinary matter, not dark or some other. This applies not only to the Earth or the Solar System, but to the entire Milky Way galaxy. So, figuratively speaking, we are all children of the universe.
Astrophysicists used a supercomputer in their work to simulate the development of galaxies and individual stellar systems. As a result, it turned out that during the formation of the galaxy, matter is actively exchanged. Yes, this process takes hundreds of millions, billions of years, but it goes. One of the reasons for such an exchange is the explosion of supernovae, when matter is transferred from one galaxy to another or other galaxies, overcoming at times millions of light years.
"If we take into account the amount of" external "matter that is our part, we can be called intergalactic travelers or even galactic immigrants," said Daniel Angles-Alkasar, project team member, CIERA employee (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics. Also says that a significant part of the Milky Way was once a component of other galaxies, but then, having overcome thousands of light years of intergalactic space, came to us.
As it is known, galaxies are separated from each other by means of So even if we assume that the speed of moving matter in space is several hundred kilometers per second, the migration of matter takes tens, hundreds of millions or even billions of years. The participants in the study say that the results of the project changed their perception of Formation of galaxies after the Big Bang.
To develop models of development of the Universe the project participants were assisted by their colleagues from FIRE ("Feedback In Realistic Environments"), another project, which Is developing a mathematical apparatus for modeling the evolution of the universe. As a result, scientists were able to observe the alleged events, separated from us for billions of years, in the form of a visual model. In the same way, experts monitored the movement of matter from the galaxy and into the galaxy. In the course of the study, the supercomputer powers were used, equivalent to several million hours of continuous computing.
"The new thing in our project that we now know is that half the volume of all the matter that surrounds us and of which we are composed, including the Earth and the Solar System – has come here from distant galaxies located millions of light years away" , – said the head of the project.
The process of exchange of matter turned out to be quite complex, and often gas escaped from smaller galaxies to larger ones, where this matter became part of the process of star formation. Sometimes the "galactic wind" helped galaxies grow rapidly in size, and then they grew twice.
"During the simulation, we were able to track the development of galaxies like the Milky Way and determine where the stars were formed from" native "matter, and where – from matter that came from another galaxy," said Angles-Alcázar.
Scientists were surprised by how much all the processes in the universe turned out to be interconnected, and how far the objects that are infinitely distant, as they might seem, interact with each other. Now science has received new data that will help to slightly modify the idea of the formation of galaxies and groups of galaxies. True, before redrawing anything, you need to get reliable evidence that the simulation reflects the real state of things. In order to do this, the project team intends to cooperate with representatives of the Hubble telescope team.
The research itself is supported by organizations such as NASA, NSF, CIERA. It's about financial, material, and information support. More details about the results of studying the formation of galaxies can be found here.