Unveiling the Milky Way’s history with virtual labs

Unveiling the Milky Way’s history with virtual labs

We have known for centuries that our sun is located in the stellar disk of the Milky Way, a typical spiral galaxy.
Galactic Astronomy, however, entered a period of Renaissance in 2013 thanks to the Gaia satellite and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV, the latter partnered by UW-Madison.
These two space missions have mapped the stars in the stellar disk of the Milky Way.
New technologies adopted in these surveys are finally making a study of the structure of our galaxy possible.

For the first time in the Milky Way, we are discovering that many of those stars also host planets.
The Milky Way is the only galaxy where we can examine the structural details of a galactic disk of stars, which are spread in the universe.The oldest stars date from the Milky Way’s earliest history, and their spatial distributions reflect the physical processes that governed our galaxy formation.From this, we can assemble a picture of the environment in which the stars in the old disk and the spheroid componentsMy team and I are involved with two major research areas: high-resolution numerical studies of the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, and the ways in which to perform satellite cannibalized by the Milky Way, feeding to the halo of stars surrounding the galaxy .
None of these phenomena can be created in a typical laboratory; instead, we have to create “virtual laboratories” on Earth to simulate the relevant physics with large-scale computational experiments.
We combine analytical models and numerical simulations that are leading to new insights into processes that form the stellar skeleton of our galaxy.
The art of computer modeling of our Milky Way has allowed us to make progress in addressing a long-standing question in astronomy

Using computer simulations of disk galaxies is not transient features – but rather self-perpetuating, persistent and long-lived.
In computer simulations of galaxy formation, the stellar halo of our Milky Way undergoes significant cannibalization of smaller companions during its lifetime.

The Sagittarius dwarf galaxy is one of the most beautiful of the sky.

Progress and the dwarf galaxies that surround it into powerful models that expand our understanding of galaxy formation.
Lessons learned from comparing observational experiments with computer simulations and computer simulations are bound to have repercussions that will affect the entire field of physics and astronomy in the future.

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