One of the biggest mysteries in cosmology today is what exactly the universe is made of. We know that all the ordinary matter in the universe constitutes only 5% of the total universe, and the rest is made up of theoretical constructions: 27% of the universe is dark matter and 68% is dark energy. We know that dark matter and dark energy they must exist because we see their effects, but neither has been directly measured.
So, to learn more about dark energy, a large-scale international survey called the Dark Energy Survey was launched to map hundreds of millions of galaxies. Between 2013 and 2019, a collaboration of researchers used a specially designed tool called the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Victor M. Blanco Telescope located in the Chilean Andes for these observations. But since the survey has come to an end, the Dark Energy Camera has not been idle: it is now used to investigate a variety of astronomical topics, and was recently used to capture this stunning image of the Lobster Nebula.
This 400-light-year-wide nebula lies about 8,000 light-years distant from Earth in the constellation Scorpius. This cloud of dust and gas is illuminated by bright young stars, with a particularly bright set of massive stars in a cluster called Pismis 24 at the heart of the nebula. The interactions of these massive stars, the younger stars forming around them, and clumps of dust and gas that will eventually form another generation of stars add to the nebula’s complex, undulating shape.
Capturing these different features was made possible by the Dark Energy Camera’s range of filters. “This image was constructed using some of a new range of very special DECam narrowband filters, which isolate very rare wavelengths of light. specific,” he explains. NOIRLab. “They allow the physics of distant objects to be inferred, including important details about their internal motions, temperatures, and complex chemistry, which is especially important when examining star-forming regions like the Lobster Nebula.”