The instrument Dark Energy Spectroscopic or DESI created the largest and most detailed 3D map of the universe ever released. The work presented so far took seven months and is still under development.
DESI has cataloged more than 7.5 million galaxies, and its primary goal is to reveal more about the dark energy found throughout the universe. This energy constitutes about 70% of the universe and is a very important part of its expansion.
The plan is to scan the universe by 2026, using data from more than 35 million galaxies and whatever else is hidden. You can see the animated summer from the map here.
DESI is an international scientific collaboration managed by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) with primary funding for construction and operations from the DOE’s Office of Science. It is installed on the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. His idea was conceived about a decade ago, and construction began in 2015.
DESI is made up of more than 5,000 optical fibers that allow the instrument to capture images of the color spectrum of galaxies. The team of scientists can control and position each of these fibers within a range of 10 microns (the thickness of a human hair) and DESI can even use these images to measure how much the captured light has been redshifted.
Redshifting is a measure of how much light has been pushed towards the red end of the spectrum by the expansion of the universe during the billions of years it traveled before reaching Earth. It’s these redshifts that allow DESI to see the depth of the sky – The more redshifted a galaxy’s spectrum is, in general, the farther it is.
In November 2021 alone, DESI cataloged redshifts of 2.5 million galaxies.
Until then, DESI data are being used to understand the behavior of intermediate-mass black holes in small galaxies and also the evolution of Quasars – a particularly bright variety of galaxies. But in the coming years, much is expected of what this instrument can reveal about the future of the universe.
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