DESI opens its 500 eyes to capture colors of cosmos


View of the complete focal plane, where we can see the 5,000 robotic positioners, each of which contains an optical spectra capturing the light of the galaxies. There are the GFA cameras (Guider, Focus & Alignment), provided by the DESI Spanish groups and built at the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE). One of them is shown in foreground, in the lower central part of the image. Image credits: DESI Collaboration.

View of the complete focal plane, where we can see the 5,000 robotic positioners, each of which contains an optical spectra capturing the light of the galaxies. There are the GFA cameras (Guider, Focus & Alignment), provided by the DESI Spanish groups and built at the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE). One of them is shown in foreground, in the lower central part of the image. Image credits: DESI Collaboration.

The night of October 22-23, 2019, a new instrument installed in a telescope in Arizona made its first light observation pointing its 5,000 eyes of optical spectra to the cosmos. The device, which will observe a record figure of galaxies and quasars, tested its unique vobservation of the Universe.

This is the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, known as DESI. Its installation is about to be finished. This tool is designed to explore the mysteries of the dark energy, which account for approximately 68% of the universe and is responsible for its accelerated expansion. To do so, DESI will observe for five years a third of the sky in order to map the distance between the Earth and 35 million galaxies, plus other 2.4 million quasars. It will start its scientific observations in early 2020.

DESI results from an international collaboration gathering about 500 researchers affiliated at 75 institutions from thirteen countries. Among these are researchers from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB).

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