A new instrument mounted atop a telescope in Arizona has aimed its robotic array of 5,000 fiber-optic “eyes” at the night sky to capture the first images showing its unique view of galaxy light.
It took three sky surveys – conducted at telescopes in two continents, covering one-third of the visible sky, and requiring almost 1,000 observing nights – to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion.
To address messy measurements of the cosmic web that connects matter in the universe, researchers at Berkeley Lab developed a way to improve the accuracy and clarity of these measurements based on the stretching of the universe’s oldest light.
In this video, Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project participants share their insight and excitement about the project and its potential for new and unexpected discoveries.
On April 1 the dome of the Mayall Telescope near Tucson, Arizona, opened to the night sky, and starlight poured through the assembly of six large lenses that were carefully packaged and aligned for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project, which is expected to provide the most precise measurement of the expansion of the universe, and new insight into dark energy.
Key components for the sky-mapping Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, weighing about 12 tons, were hoisted atop the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, and bolted into place last week, marking a major project milestone.
How do you create the largest 3D map of the universe? It’s as easy as teaching 5,000 robots how to “dance.” DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, is an experiment that will target millions of distant galaxies by automatically swiveling fiber-optic positioners (the robots) to point at them and gather their light. In creating this detailed map, scientists hope to learn more about dark energy, which is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.
Scientists have decoded faint distortions in the patterns of the universe’s earliest light to map huge tubelike structures invisible to our eyes – known as filaments – that serve as superhighways for delivering matter to dense hubs such as galaxy clusters.
Berkeley Lab is offering a special tour to photographers on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in a local event that is part of a Global Physics Photowalk 2018 competition. Follow @BerkeleyLab and #LBNLphotowalk online for updates on the local event.
Today, the dome closes on the previous science chapters of the 4-meter Mayall Telescope in Arizona so that it can prepare for its new role in creating the largest 3-D map of the universe. This map could help to solve the mystery of dark energy, which is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.