The Dark Energy Survey

The Dark Energy Survey

Español  |  English   
  • CTIO

  • Prototype camera for DES

    Photo credit: Fermilab

  • Blanco 4m

  • Dome above the Blanco 4M

    Credit: Gemini Observatory

  • Supernova 1994D in NGC4526

    Photo credit: NASA


Home Page

Why is the universe speeding up?

Dark Energy Survey's five-year mission begins

The Dark Energy Survey officially began on Aug. 31, 2013. Using the new, powerful Dark Energy Camera (DECam), scientists are mapping a large portion of the southern sky in unprecedented detail, seeking answers to the mystery of dark energy.

See what the camera sees with
DECam Interactive

Press release

Images and videos

In 1998, two teams of astronomers studying distant supernovae made the remarkable discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. Yet, according to Einstein's theory of General Relativity, gravity should lead to a slowing of the expansion. To explain cosmic acceleration, cosmologists are faced with two possibilities: Either 75% of the universe exists in an exotic form, now called dark energy, that exhibits a gravitational force opposite to the attractive gravity of ordinary matter, or General Relativity must be replaced by a new theory of gravity on cosmic scales.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is designed to probe the origin of the accelerating universe and help uncover the nature of dark energy by measuring the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion with high precision. More than 120 scientists from 23 institutions in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Germany are working on the project. This collaboration has built and deployed an extremely sensitive 570-Megapixel digital camera, DECam. This new camera has been mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, high in the Chilean Andes.

Starting in August of 2013 and continuing for five years, DES has begun to survey a large swath of the southern sky out to vast distances in order to provide new clues to this most fundamental of questions.

New Results from DES!


DES searches for optical signatures of gravitational waves

Area covered by the DECam searches for optical counterparts of the first gravitational wave event GW150914. Results of our analyses can be found in Soares-Santos et. al 2016 and Annis et. al 2016.