Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

5000 Robots Merge to Map the Universe in 3D

How do you create the largest 3D map of the Universe? You need to study 10s of millions of galaxies! To accomplish that Herculean task, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is being installed on the Kitt Peak Mayall telescope, will use an array of robot fiber-positioners that will automatically swivel into position to capture the spectra of 5000 galaxies at a time. This video describes how scientists working at Berkeley Lab are assembling the array of robots and their related electronics.

  • A Virtual Tour of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope: this visualization, featured in the documentary Seeing the Beginning of Time, gives us a virtual peek inside the LSST enclosure.

  • Astro2020 Science White Paper Coordination Hub: advertise your Decadal Survey science ideas, comment on science white paper topics, & find others with common interests.

  • Citizen Science program “Backyard Worlds: Planet 9” re-launched & announced the discovery of a record-setting white dwarf star. NOAO astronomer Aaron Meisner is a co-founder & science team member.

  • New Horizon’s departing view of Ultima Thule shows that the Kuiper Belt Object’s shape is actually quite odd. NOAO Astronomer Tod Lauer played a critical role in the investigation.

  • WIYN Observations of P/2017 S5, carried out by a team that includes NOAO astronomers Jayadev Rajagopal, Susan Ridgway, and Wilson Liu, identify it as a water-bearing active asteroid.

  • After a sluggish first few billion years, the Magellanic Clouds have upped their game and are now forming stars at a fast clip. This insight into Magellanic history comes from a study led by NOAO’s David Nidever.

  • An unusual supernova studied by multiple telescopes, including SOAR & telescopes at CTIO & KPNO, is thought to herald the birth of a new neutron star or black hole, caught at the moment of its creation.

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