The Dark Energy Survey, which began earlier this month, is an international collaboration among several scientific institutes and universities, including UND. The project is being hailed as a breakthrough in our understanding of the dynamics of the universe and offers a new glimpse into its origins. Using a specially built camera high in the Chilean Andes, an international team of scientists called the "Dark Energy Survey" (DES) captured images of three very distant supernovae — exploding stars — that will help to prove that the universe is full of dark energy.
The special camera is the most powerful survey instrument of its kind, able to see light from more than 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away in each snapshot. The camera's array of 62 charged-coupled devices has an unprecedented sensitivity to very red light. Along with the Blanco telescope's large light-gathering mirror (13 feet in diameter), the camera will allow scientists from around the world to pursue investigations ranging from studies of asteroids in our own solar system to the understanding of the origins and the fate of the universe.
Over five years, the survey will create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, or 5,000 square degrees, to discover and measure 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae.
Contact: Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor National Media Relations Coordinator UND Division of University and Public Affairs Office 701.777.6571 | Cell 701.740.1321 juan.pedraza@UND.edu
Wayne Barkhouse, astrophysicist, UND Department of Physics and Astrophysics