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Department of Astrophysics

News 2017

November 2017

A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

Cosmic Snake

Two close stellar clumps could not be distinguished without a very high resolution (picture on the left). (Image: UZH)

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astronomers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

>>Read the press release here

July 2017

Two of the ICS PhD students were accepted to participate in the Zürich Hackathon, taking place in September 2017. Congratulations to Maria Han Veiga and Aleksandra Sokolowska!

June 2017

Ground-breaking simulation for researching the “dark” cosmos

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in carrying out a cosmological simulation with several trillion particles. The simulation on the CSCS supercomputer Piz Daint provides an important basis for researching the universe with the Euclid satellite, which will be launched into space in 2020.

Euclid Flagship
Image copyright J. Stadel 2017

>> View the 2540px image

A small piece of the Simulation showing the complex formed by the dark matter through the action of gravity and the expansion of the Universe. White regions are the voids and the golden concentrations are the halos, where the density of dark matter is the lowest and highest respectively. These two extremes are delineated and connected by the filaments which are shown here in black. The golden colored dark matter halos host the galaxies in our Universe. The image measures 2.5 billion light years across and our entire Milky Way Galaxy would fit inside of a single golden colored pixel.


Image copyright J. Stadel 2017

>> View the full 5000px image

A slice through the invisible universe of dark matter is shown here extending from the present, located at the centre, to the most distant regions observable by the Euclid satellite, 10 billion light years to the left and right. The mission of Euclid will be to indirectly measure this network-like structure through the effect of gravitational lensing. Since light will have taken 10 billion years to travel from the left and right sides of the image to "us" in the center, we see that the Universe in the past looked considerably smoother, and that the large empty regions, known as voids, are much more prominent at the present.

>> Read the full article in English
>> Read the full article in German

>> Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) article
>> Euclid Consortium press release
>> UZH Press Release

May 2017

SNSF Scientific Image Competition

The SNSF Scientific Image Competition encourages researchers working in Switzerland to present their works to the public and the media. In May 2017, the international jury chose four prizewinning images and awarded eleven distinctions. In total, 239 researchers registered 497 entries for the SNSF Scientific Image Competition 2017.
Pawel Biernacki, doctoral student, University of Zurich received a distiction for the category "Video loop."

Pawel Biernacki

Formation of the Milky Way, Pawel Biernacki
>>download the video
>>Read more