Dark energy, the force believed to cause the universe to expand at an ever-accelerating rate, is the subject of a five-year study using the Dark Energy Camera at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The 570-megapixel camera is snapping photos in an effort to map galaxies up to 8 billion light-years away. "We're looking at this big galaxy map of the universe as a way of finding evidence for dark energy and characterizing its nature with cosmic epoch," said Dark Energy Science project Science Committee Chairman Ofer Lahav of University College London. "An even more challenging goal for DES is to tell if what causes the acceleration of the universe is indeed dark energy, or something entirely different."

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