On May 8, 2020, the DOE Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board (ESAAB) approved the CD-4 completion of construction for the DESI Project. It’s the culmination of 10 years of hard work by an incredibly dedicated and talented team and a major accomplishment for all involved. DESI is now the premier multi-object spectrograph and the first stage-IV dark energy experiment to go on-sky.
DESI commissioning has raced forward this winter, and we have now
demonstrated the key performance parameters of the instrument!
Since installation of the instrument, refinement of the performance of the 8 square
degree corrector, high-precision (10 micron) positioning of the
fibers under active feedback, accurate calibration of the spectrographs,
and on-sky commissioning of the whole user interface have been demonstrated.
All of this progress culminated in successful demonstration in March
of spectroscopy with the full DESI system of many tens of thousands
of survey targets. The image below is of a luminous red galaxy targets, easily revealing the distinctive Balmer-line signature of a post-starburst galaxy at redshift 1.286! See our blog for more details!
Due to growing travel restrictions and concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the DESI2020 Collaboration Meeting, originally scheduled for March 9-12 in Tucson, AZ, was held completely remotely. The online format of the meeting was very successful and many important discussions centered on early data from commissioning and preparing for the upcoming Survey Validation.
The picture shows a small group of collaboration members that were “stranded” in Tucson before travel restrictions were put in place. They practiced social distancing in the Sonoran Desert!
DESI Opens It’s 5,000 Eyes to Capture the Colors of the Cosmos!
Full press release here
We learned this morning that James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz are sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics!
The first half of the prize was awarded to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”.
Peebles is very well known in our community for his work on the CMB, large-scale structure, dark matter, and galaxy formation, which has been foundational to much of modern cosmology. And most centrally to DESI, he was one of the people who dreamed up and predicted the baryon acoustic oscillations, decades before their discovery!
The other half of the prize is shared between Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting an solar-type star”.
Mayor and Queloz are awarded for their first discovery of a planet orbiting a star outside our solar system. Another huge theme in modern astrophysics.
Congratulations to all three!
The completed 6-lens corrector, weighing in at 8,900 pounds, will deliver a huge 8-square degree field-of-view. That’s a sixteen times larger field-of-view than the previous optics. The six hexapods bolted to the skirt will actively position the corrector to microns accuracy.