A typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. Image taken in 1995 by the Hubble Telescope of the galaxy NGC 4414. Credit: NASA.

This time-lapse probably beats every other time-lapse you have previously seen, comprising a few hours, or even days and compressed into a couple of seconds – this, however, simulates and condense 13.5 billion years into 2 minutes.


This cosmological simulation follows the development of a single disk galaxy over about 13.5 billion years, from shortly after the Big Bang to the present time. Colors indicate old stars (red), young stars (white and bright blue) and the distribution of gas density (pale blue); the view is 300,000 light-years across. The simulation ran on the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and required about 1 million CPU hours. It assumes a universe dominated by dark energy and dark matter.

Credit: F. Governato and T. Quinn (Univ. of Washington), A. Brooks (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison), and J. Wadsley (McMaster Univ.).