Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Dark Energy Camera to Capture 100,000 Galaxies

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Dark Energy Camera to Capture 100,000 Galaxies

Article excerpt

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. That ancient starlight has now found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly constructed Dark Energy Camera, the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created, has captured and recorded it for the first time.

That light may hold within it the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics--why the expansion of the universe is speeding up, a phenomenon many ascribe to the hypothetical force called dark energy.

Scientists in the international Dark Energy Survey collaboration announced that the 570-megapixel camera took its first pictures of the southern sky in September.

"The achievement of first light through the Dark Energy Camera begins a significant new era in our exploration of the cosmic frontier," said James Siegrist, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy. "The results of this survey will bring us closer to understanding the mystery of dark energy and what it means for the universe."

The Dark Energy Camera was constructed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and mounted on the Victor M. Blanco telescope at the National Science Foundation's Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

The Dark Energy Camera is the most powerful survey instrument of its kind, able to see light from over 100,000 galaxies up to eight billion light-years away in each snapshot. …

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