From a computer simulation of the formation of large scale structure in the Universe. The image shows 287,865,861 individual bodies, each representing about 500 million solar masses of cold dark matter in a 200 Mpc diameter ball. The simulation is viewed from the center, projected onto a virtual sky and unrolled in a cylindrical equal-area projection. The squashing of the polar regions is a familiar artifact, seen on many world maps. In the original image, individual pixels represent 0.8 square arc minutes of sky. Many thousands of galaxy halos are clearly visible in the high-resolution image, ranging in size from a few dozen to a few million individual bodies. Color represents the peculiar velocity of the bodies, with the fastest shown in green/white moving at about 5000 km/s.
The simulation was carried out on the ASCI Red computer at the Sandia National Laboratories by Michael Warren and John Salmon and won the Gordon Bell Prize for achievement in High Performance Computing in 1997. The image was rendered on the HP Exemplar computer at the Center for Advanced Computing Research at Caltech.
See the artist with the original work.