FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2012
RELEASE NO: NOAO 12-04
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National Optical Astronomy Observatory
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Full Dark Energy Camera composite image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (a band of greenish stars running from lower left toupper right), a dwarf galaxy that lies about 200,000 light years from Earth, and is a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. Credit: Dark Energy Survey Collaboration.
Full Dark Energy Camera composite image of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies about 17,000 light years from Earth. Credit: Dark Energy Survey Collaboration.
Zoomed-in image from the Dark Energy Camera of the center of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies about 17,000 light years from Earth. Credit: Dark Energy Survey Collaboration.
NOAO: World’s most powerful digital camera opens eye, records first images in hunt for dark energy
Aditional images that illustrate the wide field of view of the camera
Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. That ancient starlight has now found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly constructed Dark Energy Camera, the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created, has captured and recorded it for the first time.
That light may hold within it the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics – why the expansion of the universe is speeding up.
Scientists in the international Dark Energy Survey collaboration announced this week that the Dark Energy Camera, the product of eight years of planning and construction by scientists, engineers and technicians on three continents, has achieved first light. The first pictures of the southern sky were taken by the 570-megapixel camera on Sept. 12.
More information about the Dark Energy Survey, including the list of participating institutions, is available at the project website: http://www.darkenergysurvey.org.
For a summary of the major components contributed to the Dark Energy Camera by the participating institutions, read these symmetry articles: http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000880, http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/september-2012/the-dark-energy-camera-opens-its-eyes
Released by Fermilab and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) on behalf of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration. NOAO’s facilities in the southern hemisphere are operated under the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO, http://www.ctio.noao.edu), with its headquarters in La Serena, Chile. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC. Visit Fermilab’s website at http://www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @FermilabToday.
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