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Edinburgh Centre for Computational Astrophysics

ECCA Research: Gravitational dynamics

Gravity underlies almost every astrophysical process in the Universe, from the formation of stars and planets on small scales to the formation and evolution of cosmic structures and the Universe itself on the largest. Two principal approaches are used to compute the evolution of large gravitating astronomical systems, direct integration of the gravitational N-body problem and the computation of the evolution of the distribution function describing the position and velocities of the gravitating particles. Both methods have been utilised by members of the Institute for Astronomy at ECCA for computing the evolution of the clustering of dark matter in the Universe, with particular emphasis on the formation of galactic haloes and the clustering of the haloes. Members of the Institute for Astronomy and the Applied Mathematics group in the School of Mathematics have used the techniques for studying the evolution of dense stellar systems such as globular star clusters.

Nonlinear gravitational clustering

Dense stellar systems

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