Dark energy in Space

August 28, 2015


The sky and the space beyond


The 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera in Chile captured this photo of Comet Lovejoy on Dec. 27, 2014.

Credit: Fermilab’s Marty Murphy, Nikolay Kuropatkin, Huan Lin and Brian Yanny

The world's most powerful digital camera caught an amazing glimpse of Comet Lovejoy when it passed in front of the sensitive field of view.

The "accidental observation" of Comet Lovejoy on Dec. 27 shows the comet's nucleus and coma splayed across several frames the camera took. At the time, Lovejoy was 51 million miles (82 million kilometers) from Earth. Ordinarily, the Dark Energy Camera looks at far more distant objects; it can image things up to eight billion miles (12.8 billion kilometers) away.

"Our favorite [memory] all was the accidental observation of Comet Lovejoy, " wrote the blog Dark Energy Detectives (a blog of the Dark Energy Survey) of the sighting. "It reminds us that before we can look out beyond our galaxy to the far reaches of the universe, we need to watch out for celestial objects that are much closer to home."

True Color Image of Comet iSON The camera is 570 megapixels and is designed to look for lights from galaxies and stars far away from Earth. Its field of view is about 2.2 degrees, equivalent to an area of sky 20 times the size of the moon seen from Earth.

Comets are debris left over after the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. Let's see what you know about these ancient and elusive celestial wanderers.

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Comet Quiz: Test Your Cosmic Knowledge

Comets are debris left over after the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. Let's see what you know about these ancient and elusive celestial wanderers.

0 of questions complete

The comet, officially called Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, is named after the amateur astronomer in Australia who spotted it. Terry Lovejoy has found five comets to date; all comets are automatically named after the person or entity who first discovers it. This latest one was discovered in August 2014.

Lovejoy appears to glow green in telescope views of amateur astronomers, who have captured numerous images and video of the comet since its discovery.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or Space.com @Spacedotcom. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+

Source: www.space.com
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INTERESTING FACTS
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What is dark matter and dark energy in space?


It is a hypothetical form of energy. -- That was invented to account for the fact that the rate of expansion of the universe appears to be increasing.
There is as yet no confirmation that dark energy actually exists.
And because there is no evidence for its existence, it throws doubt on the issue of the expansion.

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