The GHALO Simulation
At the heart of darkness
In one of the world's largest supercomputer calculations, using over two million cpu hours on the Marenostrum supercomputer, we have carried out a high precision calculation of the structure of the Galactic dark matter halo.
The simulation evolves over three billion dark matter particles from the nearly smooth initial conditions observed in the microwave background, of which over a billion particles end up within the final halo, where we can resolve 100,000 orbiting substructures and thousands within the Galactic disk. At this resolution we can resolve the density profile to an unprecedented 100 parsecs from the Galactic centre and propose a simple new two parameter function to describe its radial distribution.
For further details you can download the first scientific paper here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.2981
and an ultra high resolution image of the simulation (shown below) here: caution, this is a 20,000x20,000 pixel 175 megabyte jpeg file! (Well worth the wait and best viewed with eog (under linux) "eye-of-gnome" and not within the browser!)
Click on the image above to view a movie showing the wealth of structure present in the GHALO simulation.
Figure 1. The dark matter distribution within the inner 200kpc of our Galactic halo
Figure 2. The Marenostrum supercomputer in Barcelona where the calculation was carried out