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Planetarium Show Brings ‘Phantom’ Matter to Life

Image - A pioneering dark matter discovery by astronomer Vera Rubin, who is shown in this rendering peering through a telescope, is described in a new planetarium show. (Credit: "Phantom of the Universe")

A new planetarium show, produced in part by Berkeley Lab’s Michael Barnett, is designed to immerse audiences in the search for dark matter, which we have so far detected only through its gravitational effects.

World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Completes Search

The LZ water shield, currently housing the LUX experiment.

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which, with the help of Berkeley Lab researchers, operates beneath a mile of rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has completed its search for the missing matter of the universe. At a meeting in the UK, LUX scientific collaborators presented the results from the detector’s final 20-month run.

Dark Energy Measured with Record-Breaking Map of 1.2 Million Galaxies

This is one slice through the map of the large-scale structure of the Universe from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Each dot in this picture indi-cates the position of a galaxy 6 billion years into the past. The image covers about 1/20th of the sky, a slice of the Universe 6 billion light-years wide, 4.5 billion light-years high, and 500 million light-years thick. Color indicates distance from Earth, ranging from yellow on the near side of the slice to purple on the far side. Galaxies are highly clustered, revealing superclusters and voids whose presence is seeded in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. This image contains 48,741 galaxies, about 3% of the full survey dataset. Grey patches are small regions without survey data. Credit: Daniel Eisenstein and SDSS-III

A team of hundreds of physicists and astronomers, including those from Berkeley Lab, have announced results from the largest-ever, three-dimensional map of distant galaxies. The team constructed this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of the dark energy currently driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

Most Precise Measurement of Energy Range for Particles Produced by Nuclear Reactors Reveals Surprises

A view inside the particle detectors at Daya Bay, where photomultiplier tubes measure signals from antineutrinos. (Photo credit: Roy Kaltschmidt)

An international team that includes researchers from Berkeley Lab has captured the most precise—and puzzling—energy measurements yet of ghostly particles called reactor antineutrinos produced at a nuclear power complex in China.

New Results from World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector

A view inside the LUX detector. (Photo by Matthew Kapust/Sanford Underground Research Facility)

A new set of calibration techniques employed by LUX scientists has again dramatically improved the detector’s sensitivity.

Supernova Twins: Making Standard Candles More Standard Than Ever

Supernova Factory group (SN factory) - Greg Aldering, Kyle Boone, Hannah Fakhouri and Saul Perlmutter.

Type Ia supernovae are bright “standard candles” for measuring cosmic distances. Standard enough to discover dark energy, they’re far from identical. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab-based Nearby Supernova Factory have shown that supernova twins with closely matching spectra double the accuracy of distance measures.

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics Has Berkeley Lab Roots

SNO feature update

Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers played important roles in the design and construction of SNO – the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – as well as subsequent data analysis that contributed to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Canada’s Arthur McDonald.

DESI, an Ambitious Probe of Dark Energy, Achieves its Next Major Milestone

Paul Preuss DESI-Mayall-sky feature

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced approval of Critical Decision 2 (CD–2), authorizing the scientific scope, schedule, and funding profile of DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, an exceptional apparatus designed to improve our understanding of the role of dark energy in the expansion history of the universe.

Best Precision Yet for Neutrino Measurements at Daya Bay

Antineutrino detectors installed in the far hall of the Daya Bay experiment. Credit: Qiang Xiao.

In the Daya Bay region of China a research project is underway to study ghostlike, elusive particles called neutrinos. Today, the international Daya Bay Collaboration announces new findings on the measurements of neutrinos, paving the way forward for further neutrino research, and confirming that the Daya Bay neutrino experiment, significant as the first equal partnership between the U.S. and China in a major physics project, continues to be one to watch.

How a New Telescope Will Measure the Expansion of the Universe

Two-dimensional map of the sky that will identify the galaxies that will be the targets for our spectroscopic measurements once DESI is built. Source:

Michael Levi and David Schlegel, physicists at Berkeley Lab, discuss the future of the DESI project and how its forthcoming map will help scientists better understand dark energy.