DES in the News

All the news about DES that’s fit to print!

Astronomers Reveal Secrets of Most Distant Supernova Ever Detected

As detailed in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, light from the event has taken 10.5 billion years to reach Earth, making it the oldest supernova ever discovered and studied. The universe itself is thought to be 13.8 billion years old.

The research was led by Mathew Smith of the University of Southampton in collaboration with Chris D’Andrea, a postdoctoral fellow at Penn, and Masao Sako, an associate professor in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth also contributed to the research.

A supernova is the explosion of a massive star at the end of its life cycle. DES16C2nm is classified as a superluminous supernova, or SLSN, the brightest and rarest class of supernovae, first discovered 10 years ago. It is thought to be caused by material falling onto the densest object in the universe, a rapidly rotating neutron star newly formed in the explosion of a massive star. This violent explosion, Sako said, is brighter than even the brightest galaxies.

Stargazing at university

STUDENTS from Seaford Head School attended a Stargazing Live! Event organised by the widening participation team at Sussex University.

Pupils from Year 7 spent the day at the Falmer campus and enjoyed a tour by one of the university ambassadors and were able to ask questions about what life at university is like.

The day also involved a number of stargazing workshops using spectroscopes to identify different gases; group work on dark matter presented by the Dark Energy Survey; a lesson on exoplanets and how to spot them; and an amazing show in the planetarium.

Dark Energy Survey Unveils First Three Years of Data on Universe Expansion

The Dark Energy Survey (DES), a project designed to explain cosmic expansion, has released its first three years of data. So far, the project has mapped 5,000 square degrees or about one-eighth of the sky.

DES is an international collaboration between over 400 researchers, including scientists from the University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division, Fermilab, and Argonne Laboratories. They have compiled a repository with nearly 400 million distinct catalogued objects detected from imaging.

Stellar streams are very difficult to detect because they are composed of stars spread out over large distances. Nora Shipp, a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, is leading the DES identification of new stellar streams, which affirms the DECam’s power. “These discoveries are possible because DES is the widest, deepest and best-calibrated survey out there,” Shipp said.

Dark Energy Survey Releases First Three Years of Data

Free, detailed information on 400 million astronomical objects, anybody? Just visit the website of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) – it’s there for the taking. At a special session of the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., scientists presented the first data release (DR1) of the survey, containing observations that were collected between mid-2013 and early 2016. Among the preliminary results: eleven new stellar streams in the Milky Way galaxy and new constraints on cosmological parameters.

The Dark Energy Survey is carried out with the giant Dark Energy Camera (DECam) at the 4-meter Blanco Telescope of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. Built at Fermilab in Chicago, DECam sports 62 sensitive CCDs with a grand total of 570 million pixels. The 4-ton camera has a huge 3-square-degree field of view. The survey’s main goal is to solve the riddle of dark energy – the mystery force behind the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Dark Energy Survey spots remains of 11 galaxies devoured by the Milky Way

The first intriguing findings have been released from the Dark Energy Survey, a project that’s studying the sky to find clues about the mysterious force that seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe. And among the data is the discovery of 11 new stellar streams, the remains of smaller galaxies that our own Milky Way has torn to shreds.

The Milky Way ATE 11 other galaxies as its grew, groundbreaking dark energy survey finds

Scientists examining an exhaustive survey of roughly 400 million objects in the cosmos have discovered incredible new insight on the violent ‘eating’ habits of the Milky Way.
Preliminary results from the Dark Energy survey have revealed a stunning look at the remains of 11 smaller galaxies that have been devoured by our own, reducing them to stellar streams.
As these objects are typically very difficult to spot, scientists say the most recent find could pave the way for other important discoveries about our universe – such as narrowing down the properties of dark matter.

Our Milky Way as a “melting pot”

It’s well known in astronomy that – when we look up at night – all the stars we see belong to our Milky Way galaxy. But astronomers are coming to understand that not all Milky Way stars were born here. Instead, some stars appear to have migrated to our galaxy from other galaxies. The evidence comes from streams of stars detected in our night sky, thought to be created when small galaxies interact with our Milky Way. At last week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington D.C., astronomers announced the discovery of 11 new stellar streams, discovered in data from the ongoing Dark Energy Survey (DES).

Dark Energy Survey publicly releases first three years of data

At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced today the public release of their first three years of data. This first major release of data from the Survey includes information on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light-years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.

DES scientists are using this data to learn more about dark energy, the mysterious force believed to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, and presented some of their preliminary cosmological findings in the special session. As part of that session, DES scientists also announced today the discovery of 11 new stellar streams, remnants of smaller galaxies torn apart and devoured by our Milky Way.

The public release of the first three years of DES data fulfills a commitment scientists on the survey made to share their findings with the astronomy community and the public. The data cover the full DES footprint – about 5,000 square degrees, or one eighth of the entire sky — and include roughly 40,000 exposures taken with the Dark Energy Camera. The images correspond to hundreds of terabytes of data and are being released along with catalogs of hundreds of millions of galaxies and stars.

University of Sussex physicists help discover new stellar streams

Scientists from the University of Sussex, headed up by Professor of Astrophysics, Kathy Romer, are part of a team of 100 physicists from around the world who journeyed to Chile to study ‘dark energy’.

This week, Professor Romer and her colleagues have released the first three years’ of data from the Dark Energy Survey, announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday 10 January. This first major release of data from the survey includes information on around 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.

Chilean children name newly discovered Milky Way streams

The Dark Energy Survey discovered nearly a dozen new stellar streams in three years of DES data. Stellar streams are the remains of dwarf galaxies and star clusters that have been ripped apart by the gravitational force of the Milky Way. These streams provide important information about the formation history of the Milky Way and can be used to trace the local distribution of dark matter. The unprecedented sensitivity and coverage of three-year DES data set has allowed us to search for fainter and more distant streams than ever before. Read the full paper (and all paper associated with this press release) here.