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A survey machine and a data trove: Dark Energy Survey’s rich legacy… … and why I’m going to kick the Pope square in the fucking balls!

“Although it is located in the Chilean Andes Danny Boy… not the same observatory featured in Quantum Of Solace.”
“… Shame” 😀

“I’m going to make THE prediction of the 21st century… the data this survey has collected… it’s going to validate GUT-CP and Mills’ ‘hydrino’ model of the Universe… … bye bye Big Bang theory, bye bye Quantum… hello Oscillating Universe, hello hydrino! … … I’ve told the Vatican (and their ‘Lucifer’ telescope) already!” 😀
(if I’m correct I get to kick the Pope square in the balls!)

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THE DARK ENERGY SURVEY
Exploring 14 billion years of cosmic history

(it was only 6000 years of history for The Vatican until a few years ago)

A survey machine and a data trove: Dark Energy Survey’s rich legacy

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

DES scientists will discuss recent results at a special session at the American Astronomical Society winter meeting in Seattle today, Jan. 8. DES will also host an interactive event from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the NOAO booth in the main exhibit hall of the AAS meeting, featuring a live connection to the observatory in Chile as scientists prepare for the final night of data-taking.

A Survey Machine and a Data Trove: Dark Energy Survey’s Rich Legacy
On the night of 9 January 2019, the V. M. Blanco 4-meter telescope at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), high in the mountains of Chile, will close the camera’s shutter on the final image from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) — a survey that has mapped 5,000 square degrees of the heavens, almost one-quarter of the southern sky. Although the survey is ending, both the camera used in the survey and the survey data itself are expected to continue to yield abundant new discoveries.

Mapping the Sky to Understand Dark Energy

The Blanco telescope, which began operation in 1976, and the purpose-built Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which was mounted on the telescope in 2012, are exploring one of the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe: dark energy. Dark energy is the mysterious force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

Over the past six years, more than 400 DES scientists from over 25 institutions have collected a rich trove of data — 50 terabytes worth, mapping nearly a billion galaxies. That’s 5 followed by 13 zeros worth of bytes! Now this international collaboration is departing the telescope to study the resulting map, with the aim of probing the nature of dark energy by measuring, with high precision, the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion.

As DES departs, CTIO continues to make full use of the instrument built to carry out the survey. DECam remains installed on the Blanco telescope, and according to Dr. Tim Abbott, a DES team member and the Blanco Telescope Scientist, “The DECam-Blanco combination is as yet unchallenged as the southern hemisphere’s most powerful tool for surveys across the optical and near-infrared spectrum. DECam is an NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) facility instrument, available to all users.”

A State-of-the-Art Survey Machine

With its large field-of-view, DECam can image almost 3 square degrees of sky at once — an area equivalent to 16 full Moons. In the fall and winter, when the sky is dominated by our own Milky Way galaxy and DES’s view of the distant universe is restricted, DECam has been used by CTIO’s community of scientists in the US and across the globe to explore objects from our own planetary backyard to the far reaches of the universe.
Dr. Alistair Walker of CTIO, a DES team member and the DECam Instrument Scientist, described how equipping the Blanco telescope with the Dark Energy Camera transformed it into a state-of-the-art survey machine.

“DECam was needed to carry out DES, but it also created a new tool for discovery, from the solar system to the distant universe. Twelve new moons of Jupiter were recently discovered with DECam, and the detection of distant star-forming galaxies in the early universe, when the universe was only a few percent of its present age, has yielded new insights into the end of the cosmic dark ages.”

Discoveries Galore!

In addition to these discoveries, DECam has completed studies of the plane of the Milky Way, which arches high overhead from Chile, as well as RR Lyrae variable stars in the Milky Way’s halo. Streams of stars stripped from clusters, which probe our galaxy’s gravitational field and formation history, have been found. Surveys of our neighboring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, have discovered hitherto unknown dwarf galaxies.

DECam is also being used in parallel with radio telescopes to try and catch the enigmatic fast radio bursters in the act, and it spotted the first optical counterpart to a gravitational wave source, the neutron star merger GW170817. New DECam filters are now facilitating narrow-band studies of galaxies and the search for black holes.

Data Available to All

Throughout the observations made by DES and the broader astronomical community, CTIO has refined the performance of the telescope and instrument, making them as reliable and efficient as possible. Software tools have been built and data handling processes honed so that DECam data are quickly transmitted to the headquarters of the NOAO in Tucson, AZ, where they are processed and made accessible to the world.

While the original DECam images are available via the NOAO Science Archive (NSA), retrieving hundreds of terabytes of image data and analyzing all of the pixels is beyond most of us. To facilitate the recycling and re-use of the DECam data, catalogs of measurements made from the images are also available. Astronomers often work with catalogs rather than images to make their discoveries.

The catalog from the first DES data release last year contains measurements of 400 million galaxies and stars. The more comprehensive NOAO Source Catalog, which reports measurements for all of the public DECam data, catalogs 3 billion stars and galaxies measured multiple times for a total of 30 billion entries to date.

An ‘Engine of Discovery’ for the Coming Decade

Although the data collection for DES is concluding, and the all-sky-mapping Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile with major funding from NSF, will catalog many more sources than DES — a whopping 18 billion LSST sources is expected in the first year of operations — CTIO Director Steve Heathcote foresees a bright future for DECam.

“With its ability to map large areas of sky efficiently and to flexibly employ diverse filters and cadences, DECam will remain a front-line ‘engine of discovery’ for many years to come — a cutting-edge tool for specialized programs, deep surveys, and the observational follow-up of LSST’s own discoveries.”

DECam was built to carry out the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Project by the DES Collaboration, which is a Fermilab-led international collaboration of more than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions around the world. The collaboration has already produced about 200 academic papers, with more to come.

DES-s_0.jpg

Dark Energy Survey completes six-year mission

After six years of scanning in depth about a quarter of the southern skies, and cataloguing hundreds of millions of distant galaxies, the Dark Energy Survey will finish taking data tomorrow.

DES is an international collaboration that began mapping a 5000-square-degree area of the sky on August 31, 2013, in a quest to understand the nature 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 National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, scientists on DES took data on a total of 758 nights.

Over those nights, they recorded data from a few hundred million distant galaxies. More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions around the world have been involved in the project, which is hosted by the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The collaboration has already produced about 200 academic papers, with more to come.

According to DES Director Rich Kron, a Fermilab and University of Chicago scientist, those results and the scientists who made them possible are where much of the real accomplishment of DES lies.

“First generations of students and post-doctoral researchers on DES are now becoming faculty at research institutions and are involved in upcoming sky surveys,” Kron says. “The number of publications and people involved are a true testament to this experiment. Helping to launch so many careers has always been part of the plan, and it’s been very successful.”

DES remains one of the most sensitive and comprehensive surveys of distant galaxies ever performed. The Dark Energy Camera is capable of seeing light from galaxies billions of light-years away, capturing it in unprecedented quality.

According to Alistair Walker of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, a DES team member and the Blanco telescope scientist, equipping the telescope with the Dark Energy Camera transformed it into a state-of-the-art survey machine.

“DECam was needed to carry out DES, but it also created a new tool for discovery, from the Solar System to the distant universe,” Walker says. “For example, 12 new moons of Jupiter were recently discovered with DECam, and the detection of distant star-forming galaxies in the early universe, when the universe was only a few percent of its present age, has yielded new insights into the end of the cosmic dark ages.”

The survey generated 50 terabytes (that’s 50 million megabytes) of data over its six observation seasons. That data is stored and analyzed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“As observations end, NCSA is proud to continue supporting the science productivity of the collaboration by making refined data releases and serving the data well into to 2020s,” says Don Petravick, principal investigator for the Dark Energy Survey data management team at NCSA.

Now the job of analyzing that data takes center stage. DES has already released a full range of papers based on its first year of data, and scientists are now diving into the rich seam of cataloged images from the first several years of data, looking for clues to the nature of dark energy.

The first step in that process, according to Fermilab and University of Chicago scientist Josh Frieman, former director of DES, is to find the signal in all the noise.

“We’re trying to tease out the signal of dark energy against a background of all sorts of non-cosmological stuff that gets imprinted on the data,” Frieman says. “It’s a massive ongoing effort from many different people around the world.”

The DES collaboration continues to release scientific results from their storehouse of data. Highlights from the previous years include:

– The most precise measurement of dark matter structure in the universe, and comparing it with cosmic microwave background results to trace the evolution of the cosmos
– The discovery of many more dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting our Milky Way, which provide tests of theories of dark matter
– The creation of the most accurate dark matter map of the universe
– The spotting of the most distant supernova ever detected
– The public release of the survey’s first three years of data, enabling astronomers around the world to make additional discoveries

DES scientists also spotted the first visible counterpart of gravitational waves ever detected, a collision of two neutron stars that occurred 130 million years ago. DES was one of several sky surveys that detected this gravitational-wave source, opening the door to a new kind of astronomy.

Recently DES issued its first cosmology results based on supernovae (207 of them taken from the first three years of DES data), using a method which 20 years ago provided the first evidence for cosmic acceleration. More comprehensive results on dark energy are expected within the next few years.

The task of amassing such a comprehensive survey was no small feat. Over the course of the survey, hundreds of scientists were called on to work the camera in nightly shifts supported by the staff of the observatory. To organize that effort, DES adopted some of the principles of high-energy physics experiments, in which everyone working on the experiment is involved in its operation in some way.

“This mode of operation also afforded DES an educational opportunity,” says Fermilab scientist Tom Diehl, who managed the DES operations. “Senior DES scientists were paired with inexperienced ones for training, and in time would pass that knowledge on to more junior observers.”

The organizational structure of DES was also designed to give early-career scientists valuable opportunities for advancement, from workshops on writing research proposals to mentors who helped review and edit grant and job applications.

Antonella Palmese, a postdoctoral researcher associate at Fermilab, arrived at Cerro Tololo as a graduate student from University College London in 2015. She quickly came up to speed and returned in 2017 and 2018 as an experienced observer. She also served as a representative for early-career scientists, helping to assist those first making their mark with DES.

“Working with DES has put me in contact with many remarkable scientists from all over the world,” Palmese says. “It’s a special collaboration because you always feel like you are a necessary part of the experiment. There is always something useful you can do for the collaboration and for your own research.”

The Dark Energy Camera will remain mounted on the Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo for another five to 10 years, and will continue to be a useful instrument for scientific collaborations around the world. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Director Steve Heathcote says he foresees a bright future for DECam.

“Although the data-taking for DES is coming to an end, DECam will continue its exploration of the Universe from the Blanco telescope and is expected remain a front-line ‘engine of discovery’ for many years,” Heathcote says.

The DES collaboration will now focus on generating new results from its six years of data, including new insights into dark energy. With one era at an end, the next era of the Dark Energy Survey is just beginning.

NCSA Brings Dark Energy Survey Data to Science Community into 2021

The survey 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.

Over those nights, the survey generated 50 terabytes (that’s 50 trillion bytes) of data over its six observation seasons. That data is stored and analyzed at NCSA. Compute power for the project comes from NCSA’s NSF-funded Blue Waters supercomputer, the University of Illinois Campus Cluster, and Fermilab. “Even after observations end, NCSA will continue to support the science productivity of the collaboration by making refined data releases and serving the data well into the 2020s,” said Don Petravick, Senior Project Manager, Dark Energy Survey at NCSA. “We anticipate that this data will continue to enable breakthroughs in scientific applications and opportunities for discovery not only to astronomers but also data scientists.”

DES recorded data from nearly a billion galaxies that are billions of light-years from Earth. More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions around the world have been involved in the project. This collaboration has already produced about 200 academic papers, with more to come.

The first step in that process, according to Fermilab’s Josh Frieman, former director of DES, is to find the signal in all the noise. “We’re trying to extract this signal of cosmology in a background of all sorts of non-cosmological stuff that gets imprinted on the data,” Frieman said. “It’s a massive ongoing effort from many different people around the world.”

According to DES Director Rich Kron, a Fermilab and University of Chicago scientist, those results and the scientists who made them possible are where much of the real accomplishment of DES lies.

“First generations of students and post-doctoral researchers on DES are now becoming faculty at research institutions and are involved in upcoming sky surveys,” Kron said. “The number of publications and people involved are a true testament to this experiment. Helping to launch so many careers has always been part of the plan, and it’s been very successful.”

DES scientists also spotted the first visible counterpart of gravitational waves ever detected, a collision of neutron stars that occurred 130 million years ago. DES was one of several sky surveys that detected this gravitational wave source, opening the door to a new kind of astronomy.

DES remains one of the most sensitive and comprehensive surveys of distant galaxies ever performed. The Dark Energy Camera is capable of seeing light from galaxies billions of light-years away, and capturing it in unprecedented quality. The Dark Energy Camera will remain mounted to the telescope at Cerro Tololo, and will continue to be a useful instrument for scientific collaborations around the world. With one era at an end, the next era of the Dark Energy Survey is just beginning.

The DES collaboration continues to release scientific results from their storehouse of data. Highlights from the previous years include:

The most precise measurement of dark matter structure in the universe, and comparing it with cosmic microwave background results to see the evolution of the cosmos
The discovery of many more dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting our Milky Way than originally thought
The creation of the most accurate dark matter map of the universe
The spotting of the most distant supernova ever detected
The public release of the survey’s first three years of data, enabling astronomers around the world to make similar discoveries

About DES
The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, U.S. National Science Foundation, Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, Higher Education Funding Council for England, ETH Zurich for Switzerland, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at Ohio State University, Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico and Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey, the list of which can be found at http://www.darkenergysurvey.org/collaboration.

About NCSA
For more than 30 years the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois has been discovering solutions to grand challenges for the benefit of science and society that once seemed unimaginable. NCSA helps collaborators push beyond their limitations to make groundbreaking discoveries with the most advanced digital resources and world-class staff. For more information, please visit http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu.
About the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

About Fermilab
Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Association, Inc. Visit Fermilab’s website at http://www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @Fermilab.

About the DOE Office of Science
The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

About the NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. For more information, visit http://www.nsf.gov.

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