Past Participant Survey
Challenge Team Interim Report
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
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.
- Jeffrey Raloff
- Dean Bernadone