Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument

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.

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.

From Berkeley Lab, Dec. 4, 2018: Key components of Berkeley Lab’s Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument are installed after months of planning, prep work. A team at Fermilab built the corrector, hexapod, and other top-end support structures. The structures are designed to align the lenses with an accuracy of tens of microns (millionths of a meter) – similar to the width of the thinnest human hair.

The building boom

These international projects, selected during the process to plan the future of U.S. particle physics, are all set to come online within the next 10 years.