From Symmetry Magazine: “The Dark Energy Camera opens its eyes” 

Symmetry Magazine is a joint publication of Fermilab and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.

A long-awaited device that will help unravel one of the universe’s most compelling mysteries gets ready to see first light.

September 05, 2012
Joseph Piergrossi

On a hot June Illinois afternoon, a celebratory atmosphere prevails at Kuhn Barn, a holdover from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s agricultural past and also a popular cookout spot.

Doctoral student Guillermo Moroni works the grill, proudly serving lamb chops and hamburgers to his scientific collaborators—other postdocs, technicians, scientists and graduate students. The smell of roasted corn floats across picnic tables littered with cakes, pies and brownies.

The gathering is more than a simple celebration of the start of summer; it marks a tipping point. The Dark Energy Camera, the first device specifically designed to search for dark energy, is on the brink of completion. Project manager Brenna Flaugher—who organized the cookout—and her colleagues are about to see the project they’ve been preparing for the past eight years transition from dream to reality.

camera
DECam

housing
The Blanco telescope in Chile is now home to DECam. Credit: T. Abbott and NOAO/AURA/NSF.

The mystery of dark energy

Physicists have known about cosmic expansion since the 1920s, when Edwin Hubble found that the light spectrum of distant objects was shifted to higher wavelengths in a phenomenon called redshift. But dark energy has been on their minds only since 1998, when two independent studies of type 1a supernovae revealed the bright, exploding stars to be fainter than expected, hinting that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. Scientists previously thought that, under Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the expansion of the universe would slow as time went on due to the pull of gravity. The 1998 finding suggested otherwise.”

This is a monster article. We are indebted to Symmetry Magazine.

See the full article here.

This post is dedicated to L.H.


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