Dark-Energy Camera Starts Taking Pictures

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The latest, greatest hunt for dark energy has begun, with a massive camera installed on a Chilean mountaintop returning the first of millions of photographs that should help astronomers learn more about the strange forces driving our universe’s evolution.

The photos were released Sept. 12 by the Dark Energy Survey Collaboration, operators of the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, the most powerful astronomical imager ever built.

“It works like other digital cameras, only it’s much larger, much more sensitive, and mounted on a large telescope,” said astronomer Josh Frieman of the University of Chicago, the Dark Energy Survey’s director.

“We’re using it to get a much better measurement of cosmic expansion in the universe,” Frieman continued. “We’re going to measure the evolution of structure in the universe. And the way to do both those things is to do a really big survey of the sky.”

Over the next five years, the camera, set inside the Blanco telescope in the arid mountains of Chile’s high-altitude Atacama desert, where stars shine with a clarity seen in few other places on Earth, will photograph no fewer than 300 million galaxies.

Written By: Brandon Keim
continue to source article at wired.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. ” “We’re going to measure the evolution of structure in the universe “

    Contingent and historical processes brought the universe to where it is, dark matter and all. Not magic man and , perhaps, not an overarching theory of everything.

  2. Photographs are things that we take of our kids and send to their grandmas, who put them in frames on their mantelpiece (assuming anyone even knows what a mantle is these days).
    300 million photographs are not in the same category. It’s really just accumulated data, which mostly will be examined by software and not be directly perceived by any human mind. Perhaps the conventional meaning of a ‘photograph’ is the wrong word for this.

    No worse than the concept of dark energy – essentially a word describing something that has no description.

  3.  Dark Energy does have a description:  The stuff that is causing the acceleration of the expansion of the universe.

    There are several ideas on the nature of dark energy and hopefully this camera will assist in identifying which idea may be right.

  4. While parts of the world burn over real or imagined insults to their imaginary friend, science marches on to unravel the mysteries of the universe that are infinitely more amazing and awe-inspiring than the ancient fictional accounts in which so many billions of people believe.

  5. @OP – Detail of Dark Energy Camera image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, part of the Fornax cluster of galaxies.

    It should be an interesting search.  There is of course unilluminated normal matter (dust + gas) in spiral galaxies between the arms of lit up star-forming areas.

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