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How can we detect dark energy

Although dark energy hasn't been discovered yet, there are already many experiments established to achieve this.

There are many experiments already for detecting dark matter, but in this article, we will only mention a few of them. The main idea on how to detect dark matter is that we need to have more precise and accurate observations of more distant galaxies to give us a better view of the Universe’s large-scale structure.

To achieve this, newer and bigger telescopes are needed.

Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)

One of them is the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is located at Kitt Peak in Arizona. By obtaining the optical spectra of many galaxies, it will be able to produce a 3D map of the Universe up to a distance of 11 billion light-years. This way, DESI will be able to estimate dark energy’s effect on the expansion of the Universe.

The video below, courtesy of Berkeley Lab, shows a brief interview of the people involved in the creation of DESI explaining how it will revolutionize our understanding of modern cosmology.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)

NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) (which was officially renamed to Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope), on the other hand, focuses on the infrared wavelengths as compared to DESI which focuses on optical wavelengths. It will conduct three survey methods to understand dark energy:

  1. Measuring distances and positions of millions of galaxies to see the relationship between the variation of distance and galaxy distribution;
  2. Observing supernova explosions at particular wavelengths to see how fast dying stars move away from us; and
  3. Measuring distances of galaxy clusters, which introduce distortions on their observations via gravitational lensing and also aims to understand dark energy’s link with dark matter.

The video below, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, introduces the WFIRST and its goals in understanding the cosmos.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

To learn more about dark energy, check out the full online course, from the National Tsing Hua University, below.

© Falk, D. (4 Oct. 2019). “What is dark energy?”. Retrieved from
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Mysteries Of The Universe

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