The length of time in time-lapse videos usually ranges from the nine months of a pregnancy to the 12.5 years of Noah Kalina’s Everyday. None of these videos matter anymore, though, because now there is a time-lapse video of the last 13 billion years of the universe.
Granted, the video is a simulation and not the work of some sort of cosmic panopticon–although we wait with bated breath each day–but it is the closest simulation ever produced. This supercomputer simulation is a model of the universe’s evolution with a level of accuracy previously unattainable. Named Illustris, the model was constructed by researchers at MIT and several leading scientific institutions. And in addition to being rather cool-looking, it may be very important.
Some of the new measures with which the model will help researchers contemplate the universe include the frequency with which differently shaped galaxies occur throughout. The accuracy might also lead to a new prediction concerning the distribution of matter in the cosmos. Illustris models 41,416 galaxies total, but closely matches the rate certain galaxy types develop across the universe. So if you weren’t feeling relatively insignificant before, this newly quantified vastness should help get the job done.
Read here for a close analysis of what this all means.