Dark Energy Survey

From NSF’s NOIRLab, June 8, 2021: The Dark Energy Camera (DECam) built and tested by Fermilab, one of the most powerful digital cameras in the world, has taken its one-millionth exposure. DECam’s million exposures include science observations as well as test and calibration exposures taken by the camera while it was being fine-tuned after its construction and installation on the Blanco telescope in 2012.

Text on a purple background reads: Dark Energy Survey Year 3 Update

To tackle big questions about our universe, the Dark Energy Survey uses a powerful 570-megapixel camera to photograph galaxies close to home and billions of light years away. The analysis of the first three years of data resulted in the largest maps ever made showing the distribution and shapes of galaxies in our universe — and provided a fantastic test for scientist’s best predictions.

A starry night sky with purple diagonal stripe from lower left to upper right corner above an observatory lit up in bright red. A shadow of a building or facility is in the lower right corner.

The Dark Energy Survey collaboration has created the largest ever maps of the distribution and shapes of galaxies, tracing both ordinary and dark matter in the universe out to a distance of over 7 billion light years. The analysis, which includes the first three years of data from the survey, is consistent with predictions from the current best model of the universe, the standard cosmological model. Nevertheless, there remain hints from DES and other experiments that matter in the current universe is a few percent less clumpy than predicted.

From the University of Chicago, May 21, 2021: Long-time University of Chicago professor of astronomy and astrophysics, Richard Kron created the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which set the stage for the Dark Energy Survey. Although he is retiring this year after 40 years of mapping the universe, he plans on staying on as director of the Dark Energy Survey.

From The University of Chicago Physical Sciences, Feb. 8, 2021: Fermilab scientist Richard Kron is retiring from the University of Chicago. He co-founded the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which created the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe and recorded the spectra for more than 3 million astronomical objects. His approach influenced the Dark Energy Survey, which created one of the most accurate dark matter maps of the universe and which Kron will continue to direct.

From NOIRLab, Feb. 8, 2021: The Dark Energy Camera, originally used to complete the Dark Energy Survey, has taken the most detailed photo of Messier 83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel galaxy. (In DECam’s second act, scientists can apply for time to use it to collect data that is then made publicly available.) In all, 163 DECam exposures went into creating this image.