1 February 2013

The Dark Energy Survey with World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera

It was in 1998 when two teams of astronomers by study of distant supernova discovered that the expansion of the universe is speeding up instead of slowing down. As the Einstein proved with his theory of General Relativity, gravity is a force to cause cosmic expansion to slow down. It is the general relativity theory that helps astrophysics calculates astronomical phenomena such as black holes, neutron stars and quasars. The general theory of relativity concerns about the gravitational force and according to classical mechanics moving entities cannot accelerate with respect to each other but they do when they are in free fall state. Then it was Einstein who suggested that space-time is curved in 1915. Cosmologists in the Dark Energy Survey observatory say either 75% of the universe contains of dark energy or there exist an extra gravitational force opposite to the attractive gravity of ordinary matter or even we need a new theory of gravity on cosmic scales.

Now a group of scientists from Fermilab and collaborations of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created a 570 megapixel camera after eight years of hard work. This camera called the Dark Energy Camera and based on the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The aim of creating this powerful telescope is to observe light from over 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away and to find why the universe speeding up rather than slowing due to gravity? The cosmologists will use this super powerful camera to study dark energy, galaxy clusters and supernovae. In the next five years this camera will create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, or 5,000 square degrees and help scientists to discover over 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovas. On Sept 12 the Dark Energy Camera observed the first light and captured pictures of the southern sky. You can check the images below: 

Images Credit: Fermilab