04/09/2012 13:50 BST

Universe's 14-Billion-Year Evolution Visualised In Amazing YouTube Video Just 78 Seconds Long

The universe has been around for 14 billion years – but scientists have managed to squeeze its evolution into 78 seconds of video.

Needless to say, the flick took a fair bit of processing power - namely Harvard’s Odyssey high-performance supercomputer, which boasts a staggering 1,024 processing cores.

As points out, this simulation task would have taken a desktop computer hundreds of years to carry out.

Heavens above: The simulation shows how the universe evolved

The software used for the simulation – designed by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) - is called Arepo and it simulates the full variety of galaxies.

"We took all the advantages of previous codes and removed the disadvantages," explained Volker Springel from HITS.

It turns out, however, that you don’t need a supercomputer to generate an eye-catching visualisation of the universe’s evolution – you can make one on your laptop using off-the-shelf effects software and a particle simulator (see the video below).


Ghostly Blue 'Impossible' Cloud Mystery Finally Explained By Nasa

Galaxies didn't form in the universe until around a billion years after the Big Bang, with our Sun forming around four and a half billion years ago.

The universe is currently expanding at a vast rate, but many experts believe this process will one day reverse, with the death of the universe coming in the Big Crunch.