cosmology

Scientists are confident that the Big Bang theory accurately describes the life story of the universe over its 14 billion year history, but they have found a discrepancy in two measurements of how fast the universe is expanding. This discrepancy could mean the need to add another twist in the story, or it could disappear with more study. In this 11-minute video, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln helps us sort it all out.

From Popular Science, July 29, 2019: “Death by Dark Matter” is not the name of your new favorite metal band; it’s the literal title of a new study by a trio of American of physicists. Fermilab science Dan Hooper is quoted in this article on their paper, which explores what the hypothetical consequences might be on the human population if a certain candidate of dark matter turned out to be true.

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.