BATAVIA – Fermilab scientist Josh Frieman hopes that the world’s most powerful digital camera – which was built at Fermilab – will provide some answers as to why the expansion of the universe is speeding up instead of slowing down because of gravity.
“We don’t have a physical explanation,” said Frieman, who also is a professor at the University of Chicago. “Using the Dark Energy Camera, we hope it will help us answer the nature of Dark Energy or whatever is causing the expansion of the universe.”
Scientists last month began using the camera to begin a five-year mission to map the southern sky in unprecedented detail. Frieman is director of the Dark Energy Survey.
The Dark Energy Camera is a 570-megapixel digital camera built at Fermilab and mounted on the 4-meter Victor M. Blanco telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in the Andes Mountains in Chile. The camera includes five precisely shaped lenses, the largest nearly a yard across, that together provide sharp images over its entire field of view.
“We’ve been testing it out for the last year,” Frieman said. “It’s been working well.”
The camera will be able to see light from more than 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light-years away in each snapshot.
“It will produce the biggest map of the universe to date,” Frieman said. “We will also gain an understanding of how galaxies form.”
Want to learn more about the Dark Energy Survey? Go to www.darkenergysurvey.org.