Science Writing, May 17 (EFE). – Create a 3D map of the universe that helps unlock dark energy secrets. This will be the work of DESI, in the next five years, an international project that starts collecting data today.
The mission of the new instrument, already operational in the testing phase, will be to capture and study the light or spectrum of tens of millions of galaxies and other distant objects in the universe.
DESI is located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in the United States, and by recording the light of about 30 million galaxies, it will help scientists map the universe in 3D in unprecedented detail.
This data will allow them to better understand the repulsive force of gravity associated with dark energy, which makes up 70% of the universe and whose properties little is known, although it is believed to be related to the accelerating expansion of the universe.
The project – with Spanish participation, among others from the Supreme Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the universities of Barcelona and Autónoma de Madrid or the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE) – will specifically address two main questions: What is energy? Darkness and what degree does gravity follow for the laws of general relativity, which form the basis of our understanding of the universe.
“DESI will allow us to see approximately ten times more galaxies than previous maps, which will facilitate the study of the evolution of the universe since 11,000 million,” says Hector Gil Marin, a researcher at the University of Barcelona and the Institute for Space Studies. Catalonia, who was involved in directing the first analysis of galaxy maps.
The official start of DESI mapping comes after four months of tests, during which it measured four million spectrums of galaxies, thanks to new optics, which increase the telescope’s field of view, and 5,000 automatically controlled optical fibers.
DESI is able to simultaneously detect light from 5,000 different objects and obtain their spectra in just twenty minutes.
Spectra measured by DESI are identical to those of the rainbow. Its properties, which include wavelength, provide information such as the chemical composition of the observed astronomical objects, their distance, and their relative velocity.
As the universe expands, galaxies are moving away from each other and their light turns into longer, redder waves.
The farther away the galaxy is, the greater the redshift in its spectrum.
By measuring it, DESI managers will create a 3D map of the universe, which is expected to provide new insights into the influence and nature of dark energy.
Dark energy determines the rate at which the universe expands, says Lesia Verdi, a professor at the Institute of Cosmology at the University of Barcelona.
As DESI looks at space and time, he adds, “We can simultaneously observe the universe at different times, and by comparing them, we discover how the energy content evolves as the universe ages.”