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On its hunt for darkish power, a telescope stopped to take a look at the Lobster Nebula

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On its hunt for dark energy, a telescope stopped to look at the Lobster Nebula
The DECam mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope. Credit score: DOE/FNAL/DECam/R. Hahn/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

For those who thought darkish matter was tough to review, finding out darkish power is much more difficult. Darkish power is probably essentially the most refined phenomenon within the universe. It drives the evolution of the cosmos, however its results are solely seen on intergalactic scales. So to review darkish power intimately, you want a substantial amount of observations of extensive areas of the sky.

Because of this ten years in the past the Division of Power labored with astronomers to construct the Darkish Power Digicam (DECam). It’s the highest decision astronomical digital camera ever constructed, with greater than 60 imaging CCDs, and captures pictures at 570 megapixels. It was put in on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, the place it has a subject of view greater than 2 levels extensive, which is 4 occasions the obvious width of the Moon.

Between 2013 and 2019, DECam captured a mean of 400–500 pictures an evening, taking a look at distant supernovae, measuring the size at which galaxies cluster collectively, and finding out the weak gravitational lensing of intergalactic darkish matter. This knowledge has given us a deeper understanding of darkish power and helped astronomers constrain observations to allow them to higher match theoretical fashions to commentary.

However as DECam reached its first decade of operation, the staff determined to do one thing slightly completely different. A high-resolution wide-field digital camera is nice for capturing knowledge, but it surely’s additionally fairly good at capturing some superb pictures. So the staff pointed it on the nebula NGC 6357, also called the Lobster Nebula. It is about 8,000 light-years from Earth within the constellation Scorpius and is an intense star-forming area. You may see the ends in the picture beneath, which is fairly gorgeous.

On its hunt for dark energy, a telescope stopped to look at the Lobster Nebula
The Lobster Nebula NGC 6357 as seen by the Darkish Power Digicam. Credit score: CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA

The picture spans about 400 light-years and exhibits brilliant younger stars amongst dense areas of gasoline. To seize the main points of this picture, the DECam staff used slim band filters to take pictures of particular colours inside the nebula. Then mixed and colorized these pictures to create the ultimate picture. It is a tremendous demonstration of what the DECam can do.

In fact, with a decade of labor beneath its belt, the DECam has no intention of stopping any time quickly. It has just lately captured its one-millionth picture, and given time it simply may seize 1,000,000 extra.


Galactic ballet captured from NSF’s NOIRLab in Chile


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Quotation:
On its hunt for darkish power, a telescope stopped to take a look at the Lobster Nebula (2022, September 14)
retrieved 18 September 2022
from https://phys.org/information/2022-09-dark-energy-telescope-lobster-nebula.html

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