The first images captured by Fermilab’s Dark Energy Camera have just been released, and they’re stunning. Above, we see a “zoomed-in image from the Dark Energy Camera of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, in the Fornax cluster of galaxies, which lies about 60 million light years from Earth.” Continue reading for three videos, more pictures, and additional information.
The Dark Energy Camera is the most powerful survey instrument of its kind, able to see light from over 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away in each snapshot. The camera’s array of 62 charged-coupled devices has an unprecedented sensitivity to very red light, and along with the Blanco telescope’s large light-gathering mirror (which spans 13 feet across), will allow scientists from around the world to pursue investigations ranging from studies of asteroids in our own Solar System to the understanding of the origins and the fate of the universe.
Over five years, the survey will create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, or 5,000 square degrees, to discover and measure 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae. The Dark Energy Survey is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy; the National Science Foundation; funding agencies in the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland; and the participating DES institutions.