Scientists from MIT, Harvard University, as well as the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics recently built a novel simulator called Thesan that allows them to see how the cosmos may have evolved during its critical epoch.
To replicate “cosmic dawn,” and in particular “cosmic reionization,” a time that has proven difficult to reproduce because of its very intricate and unpredictable dynamics, such as those involving gravity, gas, and radioactivity, Thesan is nicknamed just after the Etruscan deity of dawn.
Thesan simulates these events in more complexity and across a larger area than any prior modeling has been able to do before. An algorithm that records how light and gas combine with each other is used to describe galaxy development, which is also an approach for cosmic dust.
A cubic area of the cosmos encompassing 300 million light-years may be simulated using Thesan, the scientists’ tool of choice. Approximately 400,000 years following the Big Bang and during the subsequent 1 billion years, researchers run the model forward in time to monitor the earliest emergence and development of large numbers of galaxies in this realm.
So far, the models match the few early measurements that have been made by researchers. Thesan may be able to assist us in understanding the cosmic background of this epoch when additional measurements are taken, including as with the recently deployed James Webb Space Telescope.
Cosmic reionization has been shown in unprecedented depth by the models, which cover the biggest possible area of space. There are a variety of simulation techniques that cover a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, some of which have a low res while others are more precise.
Earlier computer evaluations show that, near the conclusion of cosmic reionization, light’s ability to traverse a greater distance grew substantially than physicists had originally anticipated.
The study was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.