Wide Field Survey Camera Optics

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a 5 year photometric survey of the Southern sky that aims to answer key questions about the nature of dark energy and the structure of the universe. To conduct this survey a 570-megapixel wide field camera (DECam) is being constructed that will be mounted on the 4-m Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-american observatory in Chile.


The wide-field survey covers 5000 sq. deg. in the south Galactic cap, completely encompassing the 4000 sq. deg. area of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect (SZE) survey, reaching 24th magnitude in SDSS griz filters. The depth and filter coverage of the wide-field survey are chosen primarily to achieve accurate galaxy and cluster photo-z measurements to redshifts z > 1. The wide-field survey will detect over 100,000 galaxy clusters and will measure shapes, photo-z’s, and positions for 300 million galaxies. The survey is scheduled to start in late 2011.

One of the DECam camera lenses
One of the DECam Lenses

The UCL astronomical instrumentation group is involved in the construction of DECam, in particular in the design and construction of the wide field camera optics, which consist of 5 lenses, the biggest of which is ~1m in diameter. UCL has been involved in the optical design and is responsible for the procurement and management of the optical fabrication. UCL is also integrating and aligning the optics into the camera barrel.

Page last modified on 13 oct 10 11:35 by A Peter Doel