The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) has capped off the first seven months of observation, completing all previous studies of galaxy three-dimensional surveys. After only the 10% of the five years of observation, DESI has completed the largest and most detailed map of the universe to date.
Once the DESI project is completed, this three-dimensional map —with unprecedented details— will provide with a better understanding of dark energy and of the past and future of the universe. Meanwhile, the impressive technical performance and success of DESI to date are helping the scientific community to reveal the secrets of the most powerful light sources of the universe.
DESI is an international scientific collaboration managed by the Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), from the Department of Energy of the United States, which counts on the participation of several Spanish institutions, such as the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE), the Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE,CSIC), the Institute for Theoretical Physics (IFT, UAM-CSIC), the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA) and the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC).
The DESI scientific team is now presenting the performance of the instrument and also early astrophysical results during several special sessions online, which will include the presentation of the current state of other leading cosmologic experiments. The DESI project was launched more than a decade ago and the construction of the instrument started in 205. It was installed at the four-meter telescope Nicholas U. Mayall in the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson (Arizona, United States) and the instrument saw the first light by late 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic kept the telescope closed for months, until December 2020, when DESI looked up to the sky again in order to test its machinery and software. In May 2021, DESI was ready to begin its observations.