cosmology

Few numbers have gotten under astronomers’ skin like the Hubble constant. In fact, experts have debated the value of this single parameter for 90 years, and if astronomers can measure its value with great precision, they’ll be one step closer to solving some of the other grand astronomical mysteries of our age. There’s just one problem: The measurements they’ve taken don’t agree. The discrepancy makes scientists question whether something is amiss in our understanding of the universe.

It took three sky surveys to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3-D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion. This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project will explore this expansion, driven by a mysterious property known as dark energy, in great detail. The surveys, which wrapped up in March, have amassed images of more than 1 billion galaxies and are essential in selecting celestial objects to target with DESI, now under construction in Arizona.

In a brightly lit clean room at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, engineers are building a car-sized digital camera for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. When it’s ready, LSST will image almost all of the sky visible from its vantage point on a Chilean mountain, Cerro Pachón, every few nights for a decade to make an astronomical movie of unprecedented proportions. Building the LSST means solving extraordinary technological challenges.

By developing clever theories and conducting experiments with particle colliders, telescopes and satellites, physicists have been able to wind the film of the universe back billions of years—and glimpse the details of the very first moments in the history of our cosmic home. Take a (brief) journey through the early history of our cosmos.

From Science Channel’s Space’s Deepest Secrets, April 23, 2019: In an episode of this television series, Fermilab scientist Craig Hogan discusses the Holometer and his theories of the holographic universe.

The optical lenses for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument have seen their first light. Fermilab contributed key components to DESI, including the corrector barrel and its support structures, along with vital software that ensures the instrument’s 5,000 robotic positioners are precisely aligned with their celestial targets.

For The New York Times, Feb. 25, 2019: Axions? Phantom energy? Astrophysicists scramble to patch a hole in the universe, rewriting cosmic history in the process. Fermilab scientist Josh Frieman is quoted in this article.