If the fate of the Antarctic ice is the single most important question about our own planet, looking outward, the most important question surely must be “What is Dark Energy?”
For the past decade, the Dark Energy Survey has begun to measure fast swaths of the visible sky, with the goal to better understand DE. The DES is an awesome project, and a world-wide collaboration: the paper that ‘splains the data dump has 200 authors listed.
I’m particularly fond of this project not only because of the shear romantic appeal (we basically have no idea about the physics 95% of our universe), but also because the data is collected every night in Chile, and shot up the spine of the Americas to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, my old institution. (I used to have an office just down the hall from the team who built that part of the data system.)
After the first three years of data collection, the DES has just dropped a huge public “Data Release 1”. Come and get it!
I haven’t really looked at the data in any detail, though I can confirm that it is definitely open to the public.
I’ll note that this is yet another example of the challenges of “citizen science”. Anyone can have this data, and can do whatever they want with it. Should we expect a flood of cool discoveries from the Internet “crowd”? I wouldn’t bet on it.
The data is not pretty pictures, and doing science with it requires quite a bit of technical knowledge. In fact, just understanding how the data was created requires a ton of background. The researchers have gone to a lot of work to create solid, useful data .
This just goes to show that real science (as opposed to Hollywood or Washington science) isn’t just looking at a screen and saying, “aha”. Making data available is great, but it neither makes scientists redundant, nor necessarily generates more knowledge.
- T. M. C. Abbott, F. B. Abdalla, S. Allam, A. Amara, J. Annis, J. Asorey, S. Avila, O. Ballester, M. Banerji, W. Barkhouse, L. Baruah, M. Baumer, K. Bechtol, M . R. Becker, A. Benoit-Lévy, G. M. Bernstein, E. Bertin, J. Blazek, S. Bocquet, D. Brooks, D. Brout, E. Buckley-Geer, D. L. Burke, V. Busti, R. Campisano, L. Cardiel-Sas, A. C arnero Rosell, M. Carrasco Kind, J. Carretero, F. J. Castander, R. Cawthon, C. Chang, C. Conselice, G. Costa, M. Crocce, C. E. Cunha, C. B. D’Andrea, L. N. da Costa, R. Das, G. Daues, T. M. Davis, C. Davis, J. De Vicente, D. L. DePoy, J. DeRose, S. Desai, H. T. Diehl, J. P. Dietrich, S. Dodelson, P. Doel, A. Drlica-Wagner, T. F. Eifler, A. E. Elliott, A. E. Evrard, A. Farahi, A. Fausti Neto, E. Fernandez, D. A. Finley, M. Fitzpatrick, B. Flaugher, R. J. Foley, P. Fosalba, D. N. Friedel, J. Frieman, J. García-Bellido, E. Gaz tanaga, D. W. Gerdes, T. Giannantonio, M. S. S. Gill, K. Glazebrook, D. A. Goldstein, M. Gower, D. Gruen, R. A. Gruendl, J. Gschwend, R. R. Gupta, G. Gutierrez, S. Hamilton, W. G. Hartley, S. R. Hinton, J. M. Hislop, D. Hollowood, K. Honscheid, B. Hoyle, D. Huterer, B. Jain, D. J. James, T. Jeltema, M. W. G. Johnson, M. D. Johnson, S. Juneau, T. Kacpr zak, S. Kent, G. Khullar, M. Klein, A. Kovacs, A. M. G. Koziol, E. Krause, A. Kremin, R. Kron, K. Kuehn, S. Kuhlmann, N. Kuropatkin, O. Lahav, J. Lasker, T. S. Li, R. T. Li, A. R. Liddle, M. Lima, H. Lin, P. López-Reyes, N. MacCrann, M. A. G. Maia, J. D. Maloney, M. Manera, M. March, J. Marriner, J. L. Marshall, P. Martini, T. McClintock, T. McKay, R . G. McMahon, P. Melchior, F. Menanteau, C. J. Miller, R. Miquel, J. J. Mohr, E. Morganson, J. Mould, E. Neilsen, R. C. Nichol, D. Nidever, R. Nikutta, F. Nogueira, B. Nord, P. Nugent, L. Nunes, R. L. C. Ogando, L. Old, K. Olsen, A. B. Pace, A. Palmese, F. Paz-Chinchón, H. V. Peiris, W. J. Percival, D. Petravick, A. A. Plazas, J. Poh, C. Pond, A. Por redon, A. Pujol, A. Refregier, K. Reil, P. M. Ricker, R. P. Rollins, A. K. Romer, A. Roodman, P. Rooney, A. J. Ross, E. S. Rykoff, M. Sako, E. Sanchez, M. L. Sanchez, B. Santiago, A. Saro, V. Scarpine, D. Scolnic, A. Scott, S. Serrano, I. Sevilla-Noarbe, E. Sheldon, N. Shipp, M.L. Silveira, R. C. Smith, J. A. Smith, M. Smith, M. Soares-Santos, F. Sobre ira, J. Song, A. Stebbins, E. Suchyta, M. Sullivan, M. E. C. Swanson, G. Tarle, J. Thaler, D. Thomas, R. C. Thomas, M. A. Troxel, D. L. Tucker, V. Vikram, A. K. Vivas, A. R. Wal ker, R. H. Wechsler, J. Weller, W. Wester, R. C. Wolf, H. Wu, B. Yanny, A. Zenteno, Y. Zhang and J. Zuntz, The Dark Energy Survey Data Release 1. The DES Collaboration, 2018. https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.03181