astrophysics

Scientists have begun operating the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI, to create a 3-D map of over 30 million galaxies and quasars that will help them understand the nature of dark energy. The new instrument is the most advanced of its kind, with 5,000 robotic positioners that will enable scientists to gather more than 20 times more data than previous surveys. Researchers at Fermilab helped develop the software that will direct these positioners to focus on galaxies several billion light-years away and are currently in the process of fine-tuning the programs used before the last round of testing later this year.

From Nature World News, May 20, 2020: Two studies have shown evidence of how a larger satellite galaxy can draw smaller ones into them as they get “trapped” into orbiting the Milky Way. Such an arrangement can inform astronomers and researchers about the nature of the formation of galaxies as well as insights into dark matter and its nature. Fermilab scientist Alex Drlica-Wagner is featured.

From Sanford Underground Research Facility, May 19, 2020: The international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab, will be tuned to see neutrinos streaming from a nearby supernova. Such neutrino interactions could give researchers insight into one of the explosive processes that formed the elements in our solar system and our planet.

From Gizmodo, May 5, 2020: Fermilab scientist Brian Nord weighs in on the question of how automated devices, such as an autonomously operating telescope, free from human biases and complications, could find the solutions to questions about dark matter and dark energy.

Supernova 1987A, the closest supernova observed with modern technology, excited the world more than 30 years ago — and it remains an intriguing subject of study even today.

Understanding how the universe began has been a goal for scientists, philosophers, and theologians for millennia. In this 14-minute video, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln describes the scientific view on this topic. He covers what we know, what we think and what we may forever never know.

From Five Books, March 30, 2020: Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper gives his recommendations for books on the Big Bang and talks about whether our entire understanding of the universe is about to be turned upside down.

From Physics World, March 24, 2020: Scientists using the first year of data from the Dark Energy Survey, which is led by Fermilab, establish that there is a correlation between the positions of gravitational lenses — deduced from the stretching of distant galaxies — and gamma-ray photons. A data comparison from gravitational lensing and gamma-ray observations reveals that regions of the sky with greater concentrations of matter emit more gamma rays.