Astronomers have puzzled long over the mystery of dark energy, a mysterious substance that appears to make up nearly 70 percent of the universe and which seems to be intricately linked to the cosmos’ expansion.
But a new experiment could perhaps shed light on the mystery of dark energy.
Last week, scientists achieved first light — which is the first time an instrument or telescope collects light particles using the Mayall Telescope’s Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI).
The new instrument now will map the overall structure of the universe, up to 11 billion light-years from Earth according to a recent press release, to see that how fast and how much it’s expanding — and maybe give us clues about the nature of dark energy in the process.
The device’s robotic array of 5,000 fiber-optic “eyes” is designed to automatically narrow its gaze at sets of galaxies and also map their exact distance from Earth by gathering their light and also splitting that light into narrow bands of wavelengths.
“It can cycle through 5,000 galaxies every 20 minutes at a dizzying rate”. Astronomers are now hoping to begin formal observations early next year.
To astrophysics professor at the University of Portsmouth Bob Nichol, Says, DESI has the potential to spark a revolution in theoretical physics by examining the mysteries’ dark energy and also the fundamental laws that constrain the size and expansion of the universe.
Despite the fact that most physicists have accepted that there is such a thing as dark energy, we still do not know its exact form, he wrote in a piece for The Conversation.
The new instrument could also tackle even more fundamental laws of astrophysics that have been upheld for over a century now.
Nichol added: DESI should also be able to constrain, and even kill, many theories of modified gravity, possibly providing an emphatic confirmation of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity on the largest scales.