Scientists have released the preliminary cosmological findings from the Dark Energy Survey—research on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies as well as stars in our own galaxy.Among the highlights of the first three years of survey data, presented Jan. 10 during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., is the discovery of 11 new stellar streams—remnants of smaller galaxies torn apart and devoured by our Milky Way.
The results were announced by the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration of more than 400 members including scientists from UChicago, Argonne and Fermilab, that aims to reveal the nature of the mysterious force of dark energy.
The public release fulfills a commitment scientists on the survey made to share their findings with the astronomy community and the public. The data cover about 5,000 square degrees, or one-eighth of the entire sky, and include roughly 40,000 exposures taken with the Dark Energy Camera. The images correspond to hundreds of terabytes of data and are being released along with catalogs of hundreds of millions of galaxies and stars.
This image shows the entire Dark Energy Survey field of view – roughly one-eighth of the sky – captured by the Dark Energy Camera, with different colors corresponding to the distance of stars. (Blue is closer, green is farther away, red is even farther.) Several stellar streams are visible in this image as yellow, blue and red streaks across the sky. (Courtesy of Dark Energy Survey)
“There are all kinds of discoveries waiting to be found in the data,” said Brian Yanny of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Dark Energy Survey data management project scientist. “While DES scientists are focused on using it to learn about dark energy, we wanted to enable astronomers to explore these images in new ways, to improve our understanding of the universe.”
The Dark Energy Camera, the primary observation tool of the Dark …