DES Completes Dark Matter Survey

Scientists will continue to analyze the results until 2021

The Dark Energy Survey project (DES) officially finished collecting data on January 9. According to the news release, the DES is “an international collaboration that began mapping a 5,000-square-degree area of the sky on August 18, 2013, to search for evidence of dark energy, the mysterious force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe. Using the Dark Energy Camera, a 520-megapixel digital camera mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, scientists on DES took data for 758 nights over six years.”

The survey generated 50TB of data that will be analyzed using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. More than 400 scientists from 25 research institutions have participated in the project so far, and the analysis will continue until 2021. Already the project has produced the world’s most accurate map of dark matter and has discovered many previously unknown dwarf satellite galaxies and supernovae.