Cosmic Lighthouses >> – University of Copenhagen

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Dark Cosmology Centre > Research > Cosmic Lighthouses >>

At DARK we use observations of 'cosmic lighthouses' to illuminate the dark Universe. These are sources of light so luminous that they can be seen to very large distances and hence probe the early Universe. We combine information from cosmic explosions (such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts) and large mass concentrations:


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Supernovae (SNe) are massive explosions, associated with the violent deaths of certain stars.  In some cases they can be used to measure cosmological distances.  SNe have been observed throughout the history of mankind, and the last SN observed in our own galaxy was Kepler's SN of 1604.

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Gamma-ray bursts are related to the explosive deaths of some massive stars. Therefore they trace star-formation and as such they will be used as crucial probes of the newborn galaxies that host such explosions and possibly also to constrain the nature of dark energy.


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Clusters of galaxies are key laboratories for measuring the properties and amount of dark matter. Most of the luminous matter in clusters of galaxies is a million degree, tenous plasma filling the space in between the galaxies. X-ray observations of this plasma will be used as a key diagnostic of the dark matter dominated cluster potential, binding the hot plasma.