cosmology

For the first time, a team of scientists has used the orientation of light left over from the early universe to detect gravitational lensing from galaxy clusters – the bending of light around these massive objects. Using gravitational lensing data taken by the South Pole Telescope and the Dark Energy Camera, Fermilab scientist Brad Benson and colleagues have demonstrated a new way to “weigh” galaxy clusters and ultimately shed light on dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries of the cosmos.

The Big Bang is the term that scientists use to describe the beginning of the universe. In this 11-minute video, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln clears up many common misconceptions about this fascinating topic.

From New Scientist, Dec. 11, 2019: Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper is quoted in this article on what scientists mean when they talk about the Big Bang. The best evidence for the big bang is all around us in the cosmic microwave background, the radiation released once the universe had cooled sufficiently for atoms to form, when it was about 380,000 years old. And that is the point: everywhere in today’s universe was where the big bang was.

From WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Nov. 25, 2019: Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper spends his time contemplating the biggest mystery of all: how the universe came to be. In this 7-minute television segment, he outlines four big fundamental puzzles stumping cosmologists right now. He also explains these mysteries in his book “At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of our Universe’s First Seconds.”

From The Mac Observer, Nov. 25, 2019: In this 30-minute podcast episode, Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper recounts how he caught the astrophysics bug as an undergraduate, landed a postdoc position at Oxford and was later hired at Fermilab. He chats about his interest in the interface between particle physics and cosmology, dark matter and what neutrinos can tell us about the early universe.

From Science, Nov. 12, 2019: Three years ago, a team of particle astrophysicists appeared to nix the idea that a faint glow of gamma rays in the heart of our Milky Way galaxy could be emanating from dark matter. But the conclusion that the gamma rays come instead from more ordinary sources may have been too hasty, the team reports in a new study. So the dark matter hypothesis may be alive and well after all. Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper is quoted in this article.

From Gizmodo, Nov. 6, 2019: Scientists analyzing data from a defunct satellite say we should all consider that our universe might be round, rather than flat. The consequences, they explain in a new paper, could be crisis-inducing. Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper weighs in on this tension in cosmology.

When the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope high in the Chilean Andes becomes fully operational in 2022, its 3.2-gigapixel camera will collect the same amount of data — every night. And it will do so over and over again for ten years. The sky survey will collect so much data that data scientists needed to figure out new ways for astronomers to access it.

From In the Moment, Oct. 31, 2019: In this 42-minute podcast, Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper talks about particles, relativity and the origins of our universe, outlining our growing understanding of the conditions in which our universe began, highlighting what we know about the first few seconds after the Big Bang and how several astronomers and mathematicians throughout history helped us determine that the universe was expanding.

Berkeley Lab’s Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument aimed its robotic array of 5,000 fiber-optic “eyes” at the night sky Oct. 22 to capture the first images showing its unique view of galaxy light. It was the first test DESI with its nearly complete complement of components. Fermilab contributed key elements to DESI, including the corrector barrel, hexapod, cage and CCDs. Fermilab also provided the online databases used for data acquisition and the software for the instrument’s robotic positioners.