One of Fermilab's most prestigious projects since the shutdown of its Tevatron particle collider has been a stunning Dark Energy Camera (DEC), which is now delivering its first images.
62 CCDs, each with a resolution of 9 megapixels deliver a total resolution of 570 megapixels. The first shots have been taken on September 12 and were published on September 17.
Fermilab posted images taken of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, located about 17,000 light years away - which translates to about 99.7 quadrillion miles. There are also breathtaking shots of the NGC 1365 galaxy, which is about 60 million light years, or 352 quintillion miles away.
Fermilab said it has access to the DEC for about 8-10 hours of 105 nights every year for the a time frame of 5 years. The scientists plan to take about 126,000 pictures total - and cover about 10 percent of the sky. They hope that they will be creating a database of the most detailed imagery ever taken of the sky, with an unprecedented opportunity to travel back into the history of the universe.
Ultimately, the scientists hope that they will find an answer to the question the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.