15:26 19 September 2012
A new, powerful, digital camera, that is supposedly larger than the size of the average human, has been designed to capture images of light-rays that stretch back billions of years. The Dark Energy Camera, based in Chile, will map the sky in the latest astronomical survey.
The camera, which took eight years to build, will be used in The Dark Energy Survey by bodies from Brazil, Germany, Spain, the UK and United States of America. Reportedly the camera can see light from at least 100,000 galaxies that are billions of light years away.
The survey will take place starting in December and will last up to the year 2018, creating a detailed colour image of different galaxies in the universe. This will include the spiral galaxy NGC 1365 which is estimated as being around 60million light-years away from planet earth according to some reports.
There are high hopes for planet earth to better understand ‘dark energy’, which accounts for over two thirds of mass relating to energy in the universe. This comes as the latest attempt at understanding our universe better, as it has been the question on many physicists’ lips; why is the universe is expanding at a fast rate?
This links to the study of supernovae’s - a topic that has been tackled previously and rewarded with the 2011 Nobel prize.
A professor from the University College London, Professor Ofer Lahav, who is heading the UK side of the survey into dark energy, has explained that dark energy is “one of the biggest mysteries” for physicists.
She told the Mail Online: “The deep observations with the DES camera will tell us why the universe is speeding up and if a major shift is required in our understanding of the universe.”
There have been attempts made in the past to understand dark energy.
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