A 45-year-old telescope in the United States is set to create the largest 3D map of the universe, a situation which could help solve the mystery of dark energy that is believed to drive the accelerating expansion of the universe.
The four-meter Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope, put inside a 14-story, 500-ton dome atop a mile-high peak, closed on Monday, February 12 to have its largest-ever overhaul and set the stage for installing the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI).
According to CGTN, the new instrument will begin a five-year observing run at Kitt Peak National Observatory after its installation next year.
Apart from looking for evidence for the universe’s expansion, DESI will also help to set limits on theories related to gravity and the formative stages of the universe.
DESI could also even provide new mass measurements for a variety of elusive yet abundant neutrinos, a kind of subatomic particle.
Speaking on the development, DESI Collaboration co-spokesperson, Daniel Eisenstein of Harvard University, said: “One of the primary ways that we learn about the unseen universe is by its subtle effects on the clustering of galaxies.
“The new maps from DESI will provide an exquisite new level of sensitivity in our study of cosmology”, Eisenstein said,
The expansion of the telescope’s field-of-view will allow DESI to map out about one-third of the sky.
“Instead of one at a time, we can measure the velocities of 5,000 galaxies at a time. We will measure more than 30 million of them in our five-year survey,” said Brenna Flaugher, a DESI project scientist who leads the astrophysics department at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
DESI’s observations will provide a deep look into the early universe, up to about 11 billion years ago.