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Dark Energy Survey Verifies Supervoid

The Blanco Telescope in the Andes mountains appearing in front of a vivid black and blue night sky with thousands of bright stars that add an orange golden light on the sky's horizon

Observations for the Dark Energy Survey were carried out, using the Blanco Telescope in the Andes mountains of Chile. Scientists used its data to create a map of dark matter in the region of sky that contains the Eridanus supervoid and CMB Cold Spot. Photo: Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

NCSA-supported research could mean the universe is expanding even faster than expected.

The Dark Energy Survey, a collaborative effort among dozens of institutions worldwide, including NCSA, studies the effect of dark energy on the acceleration of the universe. A recent effort to map the Eridanus supervoid, a massive void in a cosmic web of galaxies near Earth, verifies its existence which could help determine if the universe is expanding faster than expected.

The Dark Energy Survey was designed to be a foundational dataset for dark energy science, and now it has, again, proven to be so for the astronomical community as a whole.

Dr. Robert Gruendl, DES production scientist

“This highlights the importance and impact of building robust and state-of-the-art data sets; they enable unique analyses about fundamental and important questions – sometimes questions we hadn’t thought to ask when the original experiment was being designed.” – Joaquin Vieira, DES member and director of CAPS at NCSA

Read the full release from Fermilab here.


The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 25 institutions in seven countries.

Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, Funding Authority for Funding and Projects in Brazil, Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the German Research Foundation and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing, expertise, and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and collaborators from around the globe use these resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing many of the world’s industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

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