Today at Berkeley Lab

Survey Tunes in to Dark Energy

[Nature] David Schlegel’s tool for exploring dark energy, one of nature’s biggest mysteries, is deceptively simple. The Berkeley Lab physicist uses an aluminum plate the size of a manhole cover — or rather, 2,200 of them, each with a specific pattern of holes drilled to match the arrangement of galaxies in a particular section of the sky. Every plate is used once, for an hour, at an observatory in New Mexico. When the telescope is pointing at the correct spot, light from each galaxy streams through its corresponding hole. The light is then broken up into its constituent wavelengths and used to clock how fast each galaxy is being carried away from us by the relentless expansion of space. More>

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