Scientists have come up with the best computer model yet of the universe. This new virtual cosmos created by U.S., German and English researchers includes details never before achieved in a simulation. Called Illustris, the numerical-based model covers the 13 billion-year evolution of the universe beginning just 12 million years after the Big Bang, or creation. And it accurately depicts the distribution and composition of various types of galaxies — something previous attempts failed to do. Above, the image shows dark matter density overlaid with the gas velocity field as it evolved in the universe. Illustris was developed by a team led by astrophysicist Mark Vogelsberger of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is described in the journal Nature. The creators said it represents “a significant step forward.”

Associated Press