From The Kavli Foundation: “Capturing the Dark Expansion of the Universe”


The Kavli Foundation

Astronomers first exposed dark energy 15 years ago. Now with the help of an enormous camera, they hope to really begin to understand what it is and why the universe is flying apart at increasing speed.

Summer, 2013
No Writer Credit

“PERCHED ATOP A RUGGED PEAK in the north Chilean Andes, one of the world’s largest cameras is taking portraits of deep space. Light traveling for billions of years tickles the camera’s gigantic eye every night, yielding crisp images of ancient clusters of galaxies. But the explorers who built the camera seek imprints of something dark and rather disturbing within the pretty pictures: a pervasive, invisible force pushing the universe apart.

DECam, built at Fermilab, resides at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile

Dark energy — the name given to the obscure driver of cosmic acceleration — is just as enigmatic today. ‘When you say dark energy, what you really mean is something you don’t know about,’ says cosmologist David Burke of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

Is dark energy an enduring force that has always been with us, and will be forevermore? Does it fit neatly into Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, or will its presence force us to rethink all we know about gravity? What is it?

A global team of astronomers, physicists, engineers and dreamers intends to find out. Through the wide lens of the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), the group will search for subtle changes in the body language of the universe. Within the colors of distant supernovae, the clumpiness of galaxy clusters, and the bending of primordial light lie clues about the origin of our universe and, perhaps, its future.”

See the full article here.

The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

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