The director of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) joins an astrophysicist and a theoretical physicist in a discussion about how LSST will delve into the 'dark universe' by taking an unprecedentedly enormous scan of the sky
At a traditional stone-laying ceremony outside La Serena, Chile on April 14th, construction officially began of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). This ambitious international astrophysics project is slated to start scanning the heavens in 2022. When it does, LSST should open up the "dark universe" of dark matter and dark energy--the unseen substance and force, respectively, composing 95 percent of the universe's mass and energy--as never before.
On April 2, 2015, the Director of LSST, Steven Kahn, along with astrophysicist Sarah Bridle and theoretical physicist Hitoshi Murayama, spoke with The Kavli Foundation about how LSST's sweeping search for dark matter and dark energy will answer fundamental questions about our universe's make-up. In the process, LSST will help answer vexing questions about the universe's history and possibly reveal its ultimate fate.
"In terms of how much light it will collect and its field of view, LSST is about ten times bigger than any other survey telescope either planned or existing," said Kahn, the Cassius Lamb Kirk Professor in the Natural Sciences in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology of Physics (KIPAC) at Stanford University.
LSST will feature an 8.4-meter diameter mirror and a 3.2 gigapixel camera, the biggest digital camera ever built. Every few days, the telescope will survey the entire Southern Hemisphere's sky, hauling in 30 terabytes of data nightly. After just its first month of operations, LSST's camera will have observed more of the universe than all previous astronomical surveys combined.
This capability to rake in data, extended over a ten-year observing run, will yield a staggering amount of astronomical information. The telescope should observe some 20 billion galaxies and many tens of thousands of supernovae. In addition, LSST will help map the stars composing the Milky Way and spy reams of asteroids passing near Earth.
The galaxy and supernova observations, along with other data, will offer some of the most stringent tests of dark matter and dark energy ever conducted. Solving the riddle of dark energy will not only deepen our understanding of our universe's past, but also sketch out its future.
"Dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the universe and ripping it apart," said Murayama, the Director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) at the University of Tokyo and a professor at the Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. "The questions we are asking are: Where is the universe going? What is its fate? Is it getting completely ripped apart at some point? Does the universe end? Or does it go forever?"
Murayama continued: "To understand these questions, it's like trying to understand how quickly the population of a given country is aging. You can't understand the trend of where the country is going just by looking at a small number of people. You have to do a census of the entire population. In a similar way, you need to really look at a vast amount of galaxies so you can understand the trend of where the universe is going. We are taking a cosmic census with LSST."
To analyze this census, researchers will chiefly rely on a technique called gravitational lensing. Foreground galaxies and their associated dark matter gravitationally bend the light streaming from background galaxies in an observable, measureable way. Gauging this gravitational lensing distortion in LSST's vast image collection will speak to the strength of dark energy, which is accelerating the expansion of the history, at different times in cosmic history.
"With the data, we're going to be able to make a three-dimensional map of the dark matter in the universe using gravitational lensing," said Bridle, a professor of astrophysics in the Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology research group of the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester. "Then we're going to use that to tell us about how the 'clumpiness' of the universe is changing with time, which is going to tell us about dark energy."
Read the full conversation with Kahn, Bridle and Murayama on The Kavli Foundation website: http://www.
James Cohen | EurekAlert!
NASA laser communications to provide Orion faster connections
30.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Pinball at the atomic level
30.03.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering