The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
‘Back to School Bash’ invites K-12 families on July 12
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 11, 2024
Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) makes contact with a ball for a double during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Jones, Appel selected in sixth round of 2024 MLB Draft by Royals, White Sox
Luke White, Sports Editor • July 15, 2024

Junior RHP Tanner Jones and senior C Jackson Appel are heading to the big leagues after both were taken in the sixth round of the 2024 MLB Draft...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina SabihJuly 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Researchers study dark energy to shed light on mysteries of universe


Of all the mysteries surrounding the universe, one of the most intriguing is the presence of dark energy.
Dark energy makes up nearly 74 percent of the universe, but people didnt know anything about it. In order to study this phenomenon, more than 120 scientists from 23 different international organizations have collaborated on a research project known as the Dark Energy Survey.
Fifteen years ago, scientists didnt even know dark energy existed. Ten years ago, they discovered there was a large chunk of the universe that previously, nobody knew existed.
Darren DePoy, physics and astronomy professor and head of the Astronomical Instrumentation Lab finds his research analogous to Benjamin Franklins study of electricity in the 1750s.
I picture us being in the 1760s stage of what dark energy is, DePoy said. Stuff we know exists in nature, but we have inadequate physics to really describe it. But the first step in science is to observe it.”
DePoy said scientists are at the cutting edge of modern physics and its setting the tone for the important topics to work on for the next 100 years.
“We might discover things here over the next 50 to 100 years that would lead to a revolution in how life is lived, DePoy said. You can’t imagine life today without ample electricity around us. One hundred years ago, nobody had any electricity anywhere.
Professors from Texas A&M University are playing a pivotal role in this research by lending their expertise to make this project a success. DePoy is the project scientist for the construction and deployment of the dark energy camera at A&M, an integral part of the Dark Energy Survey.
“The dark energy camera is the most powerful digital camera in the world capable of taking images at the resolution of 570 megapixels, he said. As a result of which it generates about a couple of gigabytes of data every minute.”
DePoy became associated with the survey when he was a professor at Ohio State University and he continued this affiliation after coming to A&M in 2008.
DePoy said he was responsible for coordinating with different firms from countries such as Japan, Italy, England and Germany, which supplied the precision components that were required to build the camera.
The involvement of A&M researchers also extends to two other critical instruments of this research, namely the dark energy calibration system and atmospheric transmission-monitoring camera.
“The dark energy calibration system helps researchers attune the camera to obtain the best quality images and monitor its performance over the five year period of the survey,” said Jean Philippe Rheault, research associate in the Physics and Astronomy Department.
The atmospheric transmission monitoring camera or aTmCam, as it has been dubbed, is a separate instrument that assists the researchers in identifying the error margin that may have resulted due to interference caused by the atmosphere.
Ting Li, doctoral candidate in physics, said in order to understand dark energy, researchers want to employ precision cosmology.
“Thirty years ago, all we had was photo plates and hence the error was 10 percent, Li said. As a result, no one even cared about the atmospheric factor., Li said, referring to how photons scatter when they hit Earths atmosphere on its way to collection by a telescope or the dark energy camera.
DePoy said researchers are at in of those initial phases that motivates him to try to understand how the universe works.
Two-hundred years from now, people could be sitting in an office saying they can’t even imagine that the whole room doesn’t run on dark energy or whatever [it will be] called then, he said. Its the thing that motivates us to try to understand how the universe works.

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