Unlike other sciences, astronomers can't go to the lab and do experiments - we have to passively observe the Universe. The increasing power of computers and the development of sophisticated computer codes have allowed numerical simulations to emerge as one of the key components of modern astrophysics. It is now possible to run an experiment on a computer and see what happens when galaxies collide, or watch the development of a proto-planetary system around a young star, or follow what happens to gas as it falls into a black hole.
Canada's Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICU) located at Saint Mary's University is a leader in this increasingly important field. Researchers at the ICU study areas such as modeling the inner workings of stars, understanding the structure of stars by studying how they vibrate and the dynamics of our solar system.