Dark Energy Survey releases early data

01.21.16 -

Catalogs of galaxies and stars derived from the data collected during the Dark Energy Survey’s science verification season prior to beginning official observations have been released to the public. Astronomers and astronomy buffs can download the data from the website at NCSA, which manages the processing, calibration, and archiving of all images taken for the Dark Energy Survey.

The Dark Energy Survey is a five-year effort to map a survey area in the Southern sky in unprecedented detail.

"This is an early, informal release of data that supports some of the 60 papers the DES collaboration has produced," says Don Petravick, leader of the DES Data Management Team at NCSA. "It just begins to show the collective results of the work of over 300 scientists, engineers, and computer scientists on three continents."

The release of these catalogs contains information for more than 25 million astrophysical sources, most of them corresponding to galaxies, notes Matias Carrasco Kind, a research scientist at NCSA who coordinated this catalog.

"This information, processed and extracted here at NCSA from observations taken in Chile, will not only allow the rest of the astronomical community to understand better the nature of dark energy and dark matter but also will enable other very interesting scientific projects. And it is overwhelming to think that this is just the tip of the iceberg, as this small release only represents three percent of the planned survey to be completed in the next few years," says Carrasco Kind. The DES Data Management is a collaboration between NCSA, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and Fermilab and led by NCSA.