VOLKER SPRINGEL / MAX-PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR ASTROPHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VOLKER SPRINGEL / MAX-PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR ASTROPHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Galaxy cluster formation. Supercomputer model of the formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies from the contraction of a homogeneous cloud (left). Over time, the dark matter in the cloud coalesces due to mutual gravitational attraction. This leads to the formation of dense pockets in which stars (yellow) can form. Dark matter is a form of matter that does not emit radiation, making it hard to detect. It is only detectable by its gravitational effects. Models such as this can help to estimate the amount of dark matter in the universe by seeing whether they produce results that look like the real universe.
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