Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Huge lenses to observe cosmic dark energy

25.06.2008
UK astronomers, as part of an international team, have reached a milestone in the construction of one of the largest ever cameras to detect the mysterious Dark Energy component of the Universe.

The pieces of glass for the five unique lenses of the camera have been shipped from the US to France to be shaped and polished into their final form. The largest of the five lenses is one metre in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world.

Each milestone in the completion of this sophisticated camera brings us closer to detecting the mysterious and invisible matter that cosmologists estimate makes up around three quarters of our Universe and is driving its accelerating expansion. Observations suggest that roughly 4% of the Universe is made up from ordinary matter and 22% from Dark Matter; this leaves 74% unaccounted for - the so-called Dark Energy.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) camera will map 300 million galaxies using the Blanco 4-meter telescope - a large telescope with new advanced optics at Chile’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

The vast DES galaxy map will enable the astronomers to measure the Dark Energy far more precisely than current observations. Prof. Ofer Lahav, head of the UCL Astrophysics Group, who also leads the UK DES Consortium, commented "Dark Energy is one of the biggest puzzles in the whole of Physics, going back to a concept proposed by Einstein 90 years ago. The DES observations will tell us if Einstein was right or if we need a major shift in our understanding of the universe.”

The glass for the five lenses was manufactured in the US before being shipped to France where the lenses will be polished to a smoothness level of one millionth of a centimetre.

Dr Peter Doel of the Optical Science Laboratory at UCL said, "The polishing and assembly of the five DES lenses will be a major technological achievement, producing one of the largest cameras on Earth.”

This level of polishing across such large lenses is far more demanding than for normal eye glasses. The lenses will then be sent to the Optical Science Laboratory at UCL in London for assembly into the camera and from there to the telescope in Chile, where observations will start in 2011 and will continue until 2016.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is providing support for the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration, which involves over 100 scientists from the US, UK, Spain and Brazil. The UK consortium includes members from UCL (University College London), Portsmouth, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Sussex universities.

The latest milestone was announced by astronomers from UCL and the US Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory at a conference on optical instrumentation held at Marseille France, on 23 June 2008.

The DES Director, Prof. John Peoples of Fermilab, commented "The DES Team is thrilled that this long and technically demanding step in the construction of the camera has begun and we congratulate the STFC for making it possible to meet this milestone on schedule."

Professor John Womersley, the Director of Programmes at STFC, added,
“We are delighted that the UK is taking an important role in this innovative project which will help us understand one of the deepest mysteries of the universe."

Julia Short | alfa
Further information:
http://www.stfc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight
16.08.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system
16.08.2017 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>