Scientists have come up with the best computer model to date of the evolution of the universe.

This new virtual cosmos created by U.S., German and English researchers includes details never before achieved in a simulation.

Called Illustris, the numerical-based model covers the 13-billion-year evolution of the universe beginning just 12 million years after the Big Bang. And it accurately depicts the distribution and composition of various types of galaxies.

While cosmologists have been developing and employing computer models of the universe for several decades, the outcome is usually a rough approximation of the universe that scientists observe in reality. 

Illustris, however, has produced a universe that looks uncannily like the real one.

Illustris was developed by a team led by astrophysicist Mark Vogelsberger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was described Wednesday in the journal Nature

The Illustris creators say it represents "a significant step forward in modelling galaxy formation." 

WATCH | Time-lapse video of the evolution of the universe on Youtube

With files from CBC News