Yale researchers Darryl Seligman and Greg Laughlin have created a new model for understanding how black holes, planets, and galaxies emerge from the vortex-rich environments of space. They drew inspiration from a mechanical engineering algorithm that shows how air flows past a helicopter's rotor blades.
"Space is full of gas, dust, fluids, and turbulence. We wanted to do a better job of accounting for the swirling of all this material," said Seligman, a graduate student and first author of the study.
Vortex - Vortices - Spin - Things - Center
That swirling comes from a vortex -- or rather, multiple vortices -- which spin and pull things toward their center. In particular, Laughlin and Seligman sought to replicate the interaction of vortices in an accretion disk, which is the rotating field of matter that surrounds massive cosmic bodies such as black holes. Accretion disks are the breeding grounds for new planets, solar systems, and galaxies.
Traditional models for planet formations and similar phenomena have been based on an explosive cosmic environment, full of strong shocks. Laughlin and Seligman decided to create a new model, called Maelstrom3D, that focuses on the interplay of vortices in a less combustible cosmic environment.
Researchers - Computer - Graphics - Simulations - Explosions
Initially, the researchers looked at computer graphics simulations of explosions as a model. But they eventually decided such simulations did not contain the required level of complexity to model the turbulence of space.
That's when they came...
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