Picture of the Week

LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.

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Euclid meets the minister

15 August 2013

David Willetts, taken by the Euclid detector

A bonus picture this week.

Euclid, a European Space Agency mission currently being developed in part by UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory entered a new phase in testing this week.

The array of camera detectors on board will be bigger than any launched into space to date (though by the time it launches, Gaia - another MSSL mission - will just beat it).

The detectors being built by e2v, a company which has close links with MSSL, are now being tested at MSSL's site in Holmbury St Mary.

Universities and Science minister David Willetts dropped by to kick off the testing, and took a picture of himself using one of the detectors.

The completed spacecraft will have 120 of these, producing incredibly detailed images of the sky.

Photo credit: O. Usher (UCL MAPS)


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