Galaxy Crash

Go-lab approved
Lab type: 
Virtual lab
Lab owner: 
Chris Mihos
Age range: 
12-14, 14-16, 16-18
Level of difficulty: 
Level of interaction: 
Booking required: 
Lab description and primary aims of the lab: 

Students are asked to make predictions on how galaxies form and evolve in the Universe. They will use the ‘Galaxy Crash’ tool to simulate the evolution of 2 disc galaxies over time, and see if the results match their predictions.
Finally, the students will search the data archive of the robotic Faulkes Telescopes and find observations of interacting galaxies. They will then try and use the ‘Galaxy Crash’ software to reproduce the images which they have found and draw conclusions on the initial conditions from which the interacting galaxies came from, and what they might expect to happen to the galaxies in the future.

The primary aims of the lab are:
• Demonstrate how scientists work
• Demonstrate how, through the use of simulations, astronomers can draw conclusions on what they observe in the Universe
• Help explain how galaxies evolve in the Universe

Technical requirements: 

⚠️ WARNING: This lab is a Java applet, which means that Java needs to be installed and configured appropriately in the browser. Nowadays, the browser security restrictions are very tight to run Java applets. More information on how to configure Java in different browsers and operating systems can be found here:

Often to make the Galaxy Crash lab work with Java, one has to add the url to the allowed site list of the Java Security settings.

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