LIGHT emitted from stars eight billion years ago at the furthest reaches of the universe has been captured for the first time by the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created.
The 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera being used by astronomers from the University of Portsmouth is a the size of a telephone box on top of a mountain in Chile.
It is the most powerful survey instrument of its kind, able to see light from more than 100,000 galaxies up to eight billion light years away in each snapshot.
Professor Will Percival, of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘Today we have seen a distant image of space and time that represents the start of an experiment to answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics – why the expansion of the universe is speeding up?’
The powerful new camera will be used by astronomers from all over the world to explore the outstanding questions of the universe.
Prof Percival said: ‘This will be the largest galaxy survey of its kind, and the galaxy shapes and positions will tell us a great deal about the nature of the physical process that we call dark energy but do not currently understand.’