Sitting on top of a mountain in Chile is the world's most powerful digital camera. Known as the Dark Energy Camera, it has been fired up in an attempt to find the exotic stuff that gets all physicists excited. These are the first images it has produced.
The camera, which took eight years to plan and construct, boasts a sensor packed with 570 megapixels assembled from 62 charged-coupled devices to soak up light that has travelled millions of light-years. These images were captured just days ago on the evening of the September 12.
Pictured above is the centre of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies about 17,000 light-years from Earth. Below is a close-up of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 in the Fornax cluster of galaxies, which lies about 60 million light-years from Earth.
These images don't offer much insight into the origins of dark energy, but the folks at Fermilab, who run the camera, hope that will change in the long term. For now, these pretty images will have to do. [Fermilab]
Images: Dark Energy Survey Collaboration