Scientists in the international dark energy survey collaboration have announced that the 570-Mpixel dark energy camera -- a product of eight years of planning and construction by scientists, engineers, and technicians on three continents -- has taken its first pictures of the southern sky.
The dark energy camera was constructed at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.
It is mounted on the Victor M. Blanco telescope at the National Science Foundation's Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, which is the southern branch of the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).
The dark energy survey is expected to begin in earnest in December, after the camera is fully tested, and will take advantage of the excellent atmospheric conditions in the Chilean Andes to deliver pictures with the sharpest resolution seen in such a wide-field astronomy survey.
Over five years, the survey will create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, or 5,000 square degrees, to discover and measure 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae.
More information about the dark energy survey, including the list of participating institutions, is available at the project website here.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design