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...The Brand New Dark Energy Camera Will Utterly Change Our Understanding Of The Universe

•, By Clay Dillow
For something that we know absolutely nothing about, dark energy owns a prominent place in astrophysics. Its discovery won the Nobel Prize even though the very term “dark energy” is a placeholder for a phenomenon we don’t really understand, and though its effects are observable dark energy itself--which supposedly makes up three-quarters of the universe--has never been seen and remains unobservable. That’s why the Dark Energy Camera--which achieved first light just last week--is such a big deal. With it, we might finally give the term “dark energy” some meaning.

The Dark Energy Camera (DECam) was eight years in the making. Constructed at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and installed on the Victor M. Blanco telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, it is a specially-designed sky surveying instrument that can do some very specific things better than any instrument in the world. It is not the world’s most powerful optical telescope, nor is it the world’s highest-resolution camera or the largest instrument of its kind.  

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