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 The taming of the light screw
22.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Magnetic micro-boats
21.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>