A five-year quest to map the universe and unravel the mysteries of “dark energy” is beginning officially today, May 17, at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.
Researchers have channeled the universe’s earliest light – a relic of the universe’s formation known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – to solve a missing-matter mystery and learn new things about galaxy formation. Their work could also help us to better understand dark energy and test Einstein’s theory of general relativity by providing new details about the rate at which galaxies are moving toward us or away from us.
Before DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, can begin its 5-year mission from an Arizona mountaintop to produce the largest 3D sky map yet, researchers first needed an even bigger 2D map of the universe.
Even an underground experiment 4,600 feet below a mountain in Central Italy, and a telescope instrument more than a mile high atop an Arizona mountaintop could not escape the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these videos, a Berkeley Lab scientist and two Berkeley Lab-affiliated researchers share their experiences of working in international collaborations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite a temporary shutdown of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument in Arizona – which was in its final stages of testing in preparation to begin mapping millions of galaxies in 3D when the pandemic struck – a variety of project tasks are still moving forward.
A new study by an international team of scientists revealed hundreds of new strong gravitational lensing candidates based on a deep dive into data collected for a U.S. Department of Energy-supported telescope project in Arizona called the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. The study, published in The Astrophysical Journal, benefited from the winning machine-learning algorithm in an international science competition.
In this Q&A Satya Gontcho A Gontcho, a lead observer for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, shares her experiences at the DESI site near Tucson, Arizona, including evening observing stints to run through detailed checklists and probe how the instrument’s components are working.
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.