This amazing video shows a NASA-created simulation of the entire life of a single-disk galaxy — all the way from the Big Bang 13.5 billion years ago to the present time.
Disk galaxies are, as the name suggests, flattened circular volume of stars, and account for many of the galaxies in the universe — including our very own Milky Way. This might only be a computer simulation of the life of such a galaxy, but it is completely mesmerising. NASA explains:
Colors indicate old stars (red), young stars (white and bright blue) and the distribution of gas density (pale blue); the view is 300,000 light-years across. The simulation ran on the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA's Ames Research centre in Moffett Field, Calif., and required about 1 million CPU hours. It assumes a universe dominated by dark energy and dark matter.
I think it was worth the computation time. [YouTube]
Video: F. Governato, T. Quinn, A. Brooks and J. Wadsley