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Dark Energy Survey Publishes First Photos
Astronomers on Monday released the first batch of images taken by an enormous, skyward looking camera situated in the Chilean Andes, known as the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which was designed to solve one of the greatest cosmic mysteries: Why the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.
The first images aren’t expected address that question quite yet (that would be too easy), but the DECam’s larger mission should allow scientists to understand just how much dark energy makes up the universe, theorized to be about 73 to 75 percent. The answer would help explain why the expansion of the universe — everything moving away from everything else — is speeding up in defiance of gravity and Eistein’s Theory of General Relativity, which says it should be slowing down.
The 570-megapixel camera is undertaking a five year study of the cosmos, known as the Dark Energy Survey, which will occur over the next five years, involving 120 scientists from 23 institutions in five countries (the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Brazil, and Germany).
But the first batch of shots, taken on September 12 and released Monday, does reveal in new detail galaxies hundreds of thousands of light years away from Earth.
One series of DECam images provides a view of the Fornax galaxy cluster, found 60 million light years away in the constellation of the same name:
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