570-megapixel device ‘Dark Energy Camera’ unveiled – no Instagram for you

/ 5 years ago

Well, that’s quite an insane amount of pixels to be looking at, isn’t it? A new 570-megapixel imaging device that is known as the Dark Energy Camera, sports an array of 74 CCD sensors, is being turned on for the first time, making Chile’s 1970s-era 4-metre Blanco telescope the world’s most powerful tool for things in space.

The Dark Energy Camera was built, and funded by a 23-institution consortium, known as The Dark Energy Survey. The consortium will use the new telescope to study four phenomena. In order to measure the distance to distant galaxies, astronomers rely on type 1a supernovae, where the team will measure 3,000 of these exploding stars, comparing their distances with the stars’ redshift where they’ll calculate the rate of the universe’s expansion.

The team will also study pressure waves known as baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) that pushed matter together after the Big Bang. The effect is explained as similar to the way sound waves temporarily increase the density of the air they pass through, but with BAO, the lumps of matter are frozen in the dark beyond that is space, and can provide insight into the history of the universe’s expansion.

Measurement of how the number of galaxy clusters has expanded over time will also be looked into, which will use something called gravitational lensing – where close-by massive objects bend the light passing by.


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