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Space Science

Huge Lenses To Observe Dark Energy 121

Iddo Genuth writes "UK astronomers, as a part of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration, have reached a milestone in the construction of one of the largest ever cameras to detect dark energy by completing the shipment of the glass required for the five special lenses. Each step in the process of completing this sophisticated camera brings scientists closer to detecting the invisible matter that cosmologists estimate makes up around 75% of our universe."
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Huge Lenses To Observe Dark Energy

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  • Oymoron anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @12:57AM (#24055195)

    If it is detectable in any way, it's not "dark" anymore!

    Wouldn't it be better to call it an effort to "define" dark energy?

  • dark energy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @12:59AM (#24055217)
    They're making it sound like dark energy is visible light. If it's "dark" that means it's undetectable by normal means like giant lenses for instance. How could you just see dark energy? Isn't it more like something you'd detect with sensors, not a giant lense? But no, straight out of the article, they're gonna use it to for "detecting the invisible matter" because it has "advanced optics." Btw they said MATTER, not energy so apparently that's what they're actually looking for. Well that would officially make it dim matter, wouldn't it? Like I always thought, dark matter is just matter without a whole lot of light shining on it cuz it's in between galaxies and stuff.
  • What about planets (Score:4, Insightful)

    by collywally ( 1223456 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @01:08AM (#24055277)
    I know that planets aren't considered dark matter but I always wonder if the scientists out there are taking into account all the planets and asteroids out there that we cant see. I mean every other day, it seems, I'm reading about new gas giant planets detected around distant suns and the articles always make out as if its a surprise to the guys who found it. Is it possible that we might have underestimated the amount of planetary debris that we just can't see with current telescopes?
  • Re:dark energy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pictish Prince ( 988570 ) <> on Friday July 04, 2008 @01:21AM (#24055365) Journal

    The stupid reporter doesn't know the difference between dark energy and dark matter.

    As for dark energy, which I guess is what they're going for since it's called the Dark Energy Survey, to paraphrase Einstein, "It's dark, like fudge."

  • Re:Oymoron anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @06:51AM (#24057047)

    When "96% of the universe" is only detectable by how your model fails with the visible stuff alone, measurements of the visible stuff become useless. It isn't even science at that point.

    I'd say it is. I'm under the impression, that dark matter & energy hypothesis (I think it's fair to call it a hypothesis at this point) is the simplest explanation for all the observations that we have. So I'd say it's very much science, as good science as we're capable of.

    Feel free to provide a nicer model that still explains the current observations, though. I'm sure the Nobel Foundation will reward you for your efforts if you get it right enough!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2008 @08:53AM (#24057799)

    You know, you chose your username extremely well. You hold strong opinions (and voice them regularly) on a number of subjects which you demonstrate pretty thorough ignorance of. I realize it would decrease the humorous suitability of the username, but is there any chance you could maybe become informed at a basic level about things before commenting?

    (Now to ask the rest of Slashdot to adhere to the same standards...)

  • Re:Oymoron anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @09:10AM (#24057901) Homepage

    When "96% of the universe" is only detectable by how your model fails with the visible stuff alone, measurements of the visible stuff become useless. It isn't even science at that point.

    How can observing the only stuff we can possibly observe be useless and not even science?

    Are you proposing we start looking at all of the things we can't see with the technology we don't have because that would be better somehow? Is it more efficient to skip straight into the stiff you can't even conceive of yet?

    We can try to explain the universe based on what we can see and what we know. I fail to see an alternative -- this is the only science we got, it can't step outside of its own bounds to come up with better explanations.


Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson