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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Marius Constantin Cautun

Cautun, M.,, van de Weygaert, R.,, Jones, B. J. T., & Frenk, C. S. (2014). Evolution of the cosmic web. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 441(4): 2923-2973.

Author(s) from Durham


The cosmic web is the largest scale manifestation of the anisotropic gravitational collapse of matter. It represents the transitional stage between linear and non-linear structures and contains easily accessible information about the early phases of structure formation processes. Here we investigate the characteristics and the time evolution of morphological components. Our analysis involves the application of the NEXUS Multiscale Morphology Filter technique, predominantly its NEXUS+ version, to high resolution and large volume cosmological simulations. We quantify the cosmic web components in terms of their mass and volume content, their density distribution and halo populations. We employ new analysis techniques to determine the spatial extent of filaments and sheets, like their total length and local width. This analysis identifies clusters and filaments as the most prominent components of the web. In contrast, while voids and sheets take most of the volume, they correspond to underdense environments and are devoid of group-sized and more massive haloes. At early times the cosmos is dominated by tenuous filaments and sheets, which, during subsequent evolution, merge together, such that the present-day web is dominated by fewer, but much more massive, structures. The analysis of the mass transport between environments clearly shows how matter flows from voids into walls, and then via filaments into cluster regions, which form the nodes of the cosmic web. We also study the properties of individual filamentary branches, to find long, almost straight, filaments extending to distances larger than 100 h−1 Mpc. These constitute the bridges between massive clusters, which seem to form along approximatively straight lines.