Work of SSL DESI team featured in NYT article on dark energy

An article in the New York Times on April 4 titled “A Tantalizing ‘Hint’ That Astronomers Got Dark Energy All Wrong” noted the DESI team’s contribution to recent discoveries on the nature of dark energy that challenge previous models showing it is a constant force. DESI is the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, an international collaboration.

Says the article, “The DESI project, 14 years in the making, was designed to test the constancy of dark energy by measuring how fast the universe was expanding at various times in the past. To do that, scientists outfitted a telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory with 5,000 fiber-optic detectors that could conduct spectroscopy on that many galaxies simultaneously and find out how fast they were moving away from Earth.”

An animation in the article showed the 5,000 optical fibers and the robots that position them on objects at every observation. The SSL team built, assembled, and tested every one of those light paths!

An animated 3-D model of DESI’s focal plane. The movement of the 5,000 robotic positioners is coordinated so that they don’t bump into one another. By David Kirkby/desi Collaboration