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Dark Energy Survey kicks off second season cataloguing deep space

18 Aug 2014

Galaxy NGC 1398 taken with the Dark Energy Camera (credit: Dark Energy Survey)

On 15th August, with its successful first season behind it, the DES collaboration began its second year of mapping the southern sky in unprecedented detail. 

“The DES early data are of high quality and starting the second season is an important milestone to solve the mystery of why the expansion of the universe is speeding up” said Prof. Ofer Lahav (UCL Physics & Astronomy), who heads the DES:UK consortium and co-chairs the DES Science Committee. 

Read the full press release at the Fermilab link below and see further media reports:

  • Galaxy NGC 1398 taken with the Dark Energy Camera. This galaxy lives in the Fornax cluster. It is 135,000 light-years in diameter, just slightly larger than our own Milky Way galaxy, and contains more than 100 billion stars (Credit: Dark Energy Survey).

Dark Energy Camera Dedication at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

9 Nov 2012

DECam Dedication Ceremony with DES members

On November 9, 2012, ceremonies on the summit of Cerro Tololo, Chile marked the dedication of the Dark Energy Camera and the beginning of the 50th anniversary celebration of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO).

Speakers included Professor David Silva (NOAO Director), Professor Joshua Frieman (Director of the Dark Energy Survey) and Professor Ofer Lahav (UCL).

Professor Lahav talked at the event about the international perspective of DES, on behalf of the non-US partners: the UK, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland. He chairs the Science Committee of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), as well as the DES:UK consortium which, in addition to UCL, includes the universities of Portsmouth, Cambridge, Sussex, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

UCL has been involved in DES since its early days in 2004. UCL’ s Optical Science Laboratory, led by Dr Peter Doel, was responsible for putting together the Optical Corrector (supported by the STFC and universities funds). Drs Fillipe Abdalla and Sarah Bridle co-lead two of the Science Working Groups.

For more information, see the UCL press release.

  • Dark Energy Camera dedication at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory with DES members (9 November 2012, Credit: Dark Energy Survey).

DES First Light

12 Sep 2012

DECam "First Light": NGC 1365 (Credit: DES Collaboration)

On 12 September 2012, the International Dark Energy Survey had its 'first light' with the $35 million Dark Energy Camera (DECam) at the CTIO Blanco 4-m telescope in Chile.

This was a great moment, after 8 years of preparation and UCL's involvement in instrumentation and science from the early days of the project. The optical corrector for the DES camera was assembled at UCL.

See the links below to media reports and first images:

  • Zoomed-in first-light image from the Dark Energy Camera of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, in the Fornax cluster of galaxies, which lies about 65 million light years from Earth (Credit: Dark Energy Survey).

Other DES Media coverage

Prof. Ofer Lahav, head of the Dark Energy Survey science programme, discusses the rapidly expanding universe and the future of dark-energy research in an interview for The Economist, 21 Feb 2012.

UCL's optics and science work on the Dark Energy Survey featured on the Today Programme of BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 29 Oct 2011.

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Instrumentation Science
DES@UCL - Home Dark Energy Survey Planck Cosmic Pie Chart. Credit: ESA/Planck

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