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I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

Or, you know, owsome.

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First light for the Dark Energy Camera brings us this gorgeous image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365, which sits 60 million light years away from Earth. This shot was taken from atop Paranal Mountain in the Atacama desert of Chile with the 570-megapixel camera.

Over a year ago, I did a story on the making of this incredible camera, which was assembled at Fermilab and put together to shed light on the mystery of dark energy. The thing is huge; standing under it made me feel miniature. The lens of the camera is the size of a phone booth and the apparatus that holds it to the telescope looks like one of those crazy circular carnival rides that you strap your arms and legs into so you can swing around chaotically.

We don’t really know what dark energy is, but we know it’s accelerating the expansion of the universe and that it makes up about 75% of the content of the cosmos. It’s one of my favorite things to think about, and I can’t wait to see what revelations about this mysterious force come from the work at the Dark Energy Survey. Congrats to the whole team who made this happen!

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    That’s a pretty picture for sure… Of something 60 million lightyears away!?
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