Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Initial Conditions of Astrophysical Simulations in 3D

  1. Apr 29, 2013 #1
    So I've been playing with a little N-body code in 3D for gravitational problems and have made an OpenGL visualization to go along with it. I have been generating initial conditions (positions and velocities) using explicit formulas. I was wondering of anyone knew of any resources for getting more "interesting" initial conditions.

    Right now all I generate is a uniform distribution or a spherical distribution. Is there any way to get positions and velocities for something that looks like a real galaxy or something? Does NASA have some huge CSV file for the milky way or something crazy? Google has failed me thus far. Thanks for any direction!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    You could try to get 2MASS data, but they don't have stars uniform over the whole galaxy.
    Some model for the star and velocity distributions could be interesting, too. Take stars nearby, and assume that the whole galaxy looks similar?
  4. May 16, 2013 #3
    Well, there is the JPL "Horizons" server... it gives data about Solar System objects. It's pretty funky and FTP-ish. Not very user-friendly. I don't know of anything similar for galactic positions of stars.
  5. May 16, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    There is no complete description of the Milky Way because it is impossible to observe the entire galaxy while we are stuck within it. A large portion of the other side of the MW is obscured by the galactic core.
  6. May 17, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You need a 4 dimensional description to achieve what you are attempting. That remains an unsolved problem.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook