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Inspired by the science fiction of the spacefaring Romulans of Star Trek, astrophysicists have used XSEDE-allocated supercomputers to develop cosmological computer simulations called RomulusC, where the 'C' stands for galaxy cluster. With a focus on black hole physics, RomulusC has produced some of the highest resolution simulations ever of galaxy clusters, which can contain hundreds or even thousands of galaxies.
On Star Trek, the Romulans powered their spaceships with an artificial black hole. In reality, it turns out that black holes can drive the formation of stars and the evolution of whole galaxies. And this galaxy cluster work is helping scientists map the unknown universe.
October - Study - Results - RomulusC - Simulations
An October 2019 study yielded results from RomulusC simulations, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It probed the probed the ionized gas of mainly hydrogen and helium within and surrounding the intracluster medium, which fills the space between galaxies in a galaxy cluster.
Hot, dense gas of more than a million degrees Kelvin fills the inner cluster with roughly uniform metallicity. Cool-warm gas between ten thousand and a million degrees Kelvin lurks in patchy distributions at the outskirts, with greater variety of metals. Looking like the tail of a jellyfish, the cool-warm gas traces the process of galaxies falling into the cluster and losing their gas. The gas gets stripped from the falling galaxy and eventually mixes with the inner region of the galaxy cluster.
Amount - Gas - Galaxy - Clusters - Study
"We find that there's a substantial amount of this cool-warm gas in galaxy clusters," said study co-author Iryna Butsky, a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington. "We see that this cool-warm gas traces at extremely different and complementary structures compared to the hot gas. And we also predict that this cool-warm component can be observed now with existing instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope...
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