What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us
Codebreaker

Dark Matter Survey Camera: Looking Through the Lens

David Brancaccio Sep 19, 2012

A super cool camera with super-cooled components has taken its its first photos. Scientists at Fermilab created a digital camera with 570 megapixels, and it’s just captured a nice shot of star clusters 17,000 light years away. 

Josh Freeman, director of the Dark Energy Survey says the camera is pretty unique — attached to a telescope with a 13-foot mirror on it. Beyond the value of basic scientific research, this thing also offers a lesson for anyone buying a digital camera: It’s not all about the megapixels.  The Dark Energy camera doesn’t just have LOTS of light-gathering pixels, pixels stuck on a massive sensor bigger than your head. 

“Even if you have a good digital SLR camera,” says Freeman, “it’s maybe a couple of inches across. This camera is more like two feet across.”

Freeman’s team of 200 international scientists has a five-year mission: to boldly use the camera perched in a Chilean observatory to learn about origins of the universe. Not a bad goal — and one that may be attainable, with that kind of gadget. 

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.