Fermilab specializes in high energy particle physics and operates a particle accelerator in Illinois USA. They are now building a 570 Megapixel camera that will look back in time “allowing scientists to see galaxies as they were when the universe was only a few billion years old.”
The device that’s been dubbed the dark energy camera will look for an invisible substance that is believed to make up 70% of the universe called dark energy. The Specifications of the camera are truly impressive.
- The camera will be the size of a Smart car.
- It has 74 delicate detectors, called charge-coupled devices or CCDs, each three by six centimeters in size and 0.250 millimeters thick. As in an ordinary digital camera, they are the camera’s “film” that records incoming light.
- The CCDs will sit on a plate about half a meter in diameter.
- The device is cooled to minus 100 degrees Celsius to reduce background noise,
- The Dark Energy Camera’s superb CCDs will record longer wavelengths of light than other optical cameras do. This will allow it to see light from fast-receding galaxies that has shifted to longer wavelengths,
When in use each image the camera produces will have 520 million pixels, equivalent to about 1 gigabyte of data, with information on the redshifts and brightness of about 200,000 galaxies and other celestial objects too faint to be seen by a simple household camera. The Dark Energy Camera will be able to see distant galaxies as they looked billions of years ago, closer to the universe’s infancy. You can find more information on the project here.