There is no bigger quest in science than than the search for our cosmic origins. We all want to know why we are here, what is special about our world and what will happen in the future. Cosmology seeks answers to these questions through the known laws of physics.
The Milky Way galaxy is our cosmic habitat. This vast collection of gas, stars and dust is about 50,000 light-years in size, hosts a supermassive black hole
at its centre and is embedded in a huge clump, or 'halo', of dark matter. Its formation remains one of the great unanswered questions of contemporary cosmology.
According to cosmological theory, galaxies began life as quantum fluctuations of the vacuum generated when the universe was a tiny fraction of a second old. Now, for the first time, computer simulations of the expanding universe can follow the evolution of these fluctuations with sufficient resolution to enable a direct confrontation of cosmological theory with new observations of the Milky Way.