2007-2008 Supercomputing Challenge New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge
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Challenge Team Interim Report


[Challenge Logo]

    Team Number: 046

    School NameCimarron High School

    Area of Science:Astro-Physics

    Project Title:If You Can't See It, Does It Mean It's Not There?

Abstract
Interim
Final Report

One of the greatest mysteries of astophysics today is just what exactly holds the galaxies together. Since Newton we have know that the force that does the job is gravity. Yet, recent calculations have shown that the know galaxies do not have enough visible matter, stars, to hold them together with that gravity. Thus, "dark matter" has been proposed as a solution. But what is "dark matter?" That is the question!

There have been several candidates proposed. Among them, almost mass-less particles called neutrinos, masssive stars that have become black holes, planets and asteroids, and other exotic possibilities. These different types of matter would be distributed very differntly about a typical galaxy, and therefore their gravitational effect would be different.

What we propose to create a model of would be a simplified galaxy of two dimensions [ at first ] comprised of particles representing stars that have mass and position that interact via Newton's Law of Gravity and Newton's Laws of Motion. We are looking at some screen saver programs that seem to do this, but we may have to create a simpler model of our own using C++.Changing where and how much these mass particles, with a given starting motion, we would have the model show if such a galaxy would hang together or fly apart. What we would hope to vary would be the distribution of matter in a given space to do that. We would also have to compare that with a known galaxy to see the meaning of those results. Since most of the mass of most types of galaxies lie in a plane, our first approximation will not be too far off.


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Project Advisor(s)

  • Jeffrey Raloff
  • Dean Bernadone
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