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Explore Galaxies Far, Far Away at Internet Speeds

Scientists have released an “expansion pack” for a virtual tour of the universe that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own computer. The latest version of the publicly accessible images of the sky roughly doubles the size of the searchable universe from the project’s original release in May.

Supernova Twins: Making Standard Candles More Standard Than Ever

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.

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

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.

Celeste: A New Model for Cataloging the Universe

A Berkeley Lab-based research collaboration of astrophysicists, statisticians and computer scientists has created a new statistical analysis model designed to enhance one of modern astronomy’s most time-tested tools: sky surveys.

Supernova Hunting with Supercomputers

Berkeley researchers provide “roadmap” and tools for finding and studying Type Ia supernovae in their natural habitat

How a New Telescope Will Measure the Expansion of the Universe

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.

Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Wins $1.1M Award

The Heising-Simons Foundation has awarded $1.1M to the DESI project with the goal of helping to fabricate the unique optics needed to capture spectra of the young expanding universe.

BOSS Quasars Track the Expanding Universe – the Most Precise Measurement Yet

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) pioneered the use of quasars to chart the universe’s expansion and investigate the properties of dark energy through studies of large-scale structure. New techniques of analysis led by Berkeley Lab scientists, combined with other new BOSS quasar measures of the young universe’s structure, have produced the most precise measurement of expansion since galaxies formed.

Standard-Candle Supernovae are Still Standard, but Why?

Until recently, scientists thought they knew why Type Ia supernovae – the best cosmological “standard candles” – are all so much alike. But their favorite scenario was wrong. White dwarfs don’t all reach the Chandrasekhar limit, 1.4 times the mass of our sun, before they detonate in a massive thermonuclear explosion. Most Type Ia progenitors are less massive, and a few are even more massive. New work by the Berkeley Lab-based Nearby Supernova Factory can identify which theories of the strange circumstances that lead to a Type Ia explosion actually work and which don’t.

BOSS Measures the Scale of the Universe to One-Percent Accuracy

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey, has measured the clustering of nearly 1.3 million galaxies spectroscopically to determine the “standard ruler” of the universe’s large-scale structure to within one percent, the most precise such measurement ever made.