Uncovering the nature of dark energy

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an international, collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our Universe. DES began searching the Southern skies on August 31, 2013.

Surveying the sky

DES is an international collaboration involving 10 institutions from the US, and  six international consortia from Brazil, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and a consortium from Spain (CIEMAT, IFAE and ICE). The collaboration will carry out a very large and deep photometric survey of 5000 deg2 of the southern sky in five bands in the visible and near infrared (g, r, i, Z, Y), with the aim of producing the first precise characterization of the properties of the dark energy. To perform the survey, the DES Collaboration has built a wide-field (3 deg2) CCD camera (DECam), which is mounted at the prime focus of the 4-meter Blanco Telescope, located in Cerro Tololo (Chile).

ICE's participation

DES-Spanish groups (The Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC), IFAE and CIEMAT/UAM) were funded by Plan Nacional since 2006 to participate in DES. The Spanish groups have collaborated very effectively and, acting as a single institution, have been able to take important responsibilities in the collaboration:

  • DES-Spain had the responsibility for the design on most of, and the production and testing of all, the front-end electronics of the camera. Now we keep the responsibility of its operation and maintenance. The main responsibility was for IFAE and CIEMAT.
  • The ICE provide some of the production electronics and contribute to the test-bench and test-camera to test ccd and electronics.
  • The Institute of Space Sciences has been responsible for production and testing of the star guider software.
  • The Institute of Space Sciences is responsible for the production of the N-body dark matter simulations (MICE) used in the DES Data Challenges and science analysis

The above tasks make our contribution to DES very visible within the collaboration. Consequently, DES-Spain is well represented in all committees governing and making decisions for DES: Management Committee (E. Gaztañaga and R. Miquel), Membership Committee (E. Sánchez), Publications Committee (R. Miquel), Science Committee (F. Castander, M.Crocce, E. Gaztañaga), DES Builders Committee (E. Fernández), Co-coordination of Large Scale Structure Working Group (E. Gaztañaga, M.Crocce), Co-coordination of Photo-z Working Group (F. Castander, E.Gaztanaga), etc. Six members of ICE have the status of being DES builders. The Spanish institutions were the first to join the DES Collaboration from outside the US, following a procedure that has become the model for other institutions, in particular for those of the UK, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.

Senior institute members involved

Meet the senior researchers who lead our participation in the DES mission.

  • Enrique Gaztañaga

  • Fco. Javier Castander

  • Martin Crocce

  • Pablo Fosalba

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