Review of The Dark Energy Survey: The Story of a Cosmological Experiment by Ofer Lahav, Lucy Calder, Julian Mayers & Joshua A. Frieman

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 140, 1279, 282–283 (December 2020)

This is a book review of The Dark Energy Survey: The Story of a Cosmological Experiment edited by Ofer Lahav, Lucy Calder, Julian Mayers & Joshua A. Frieman. It covers the technical aspects of building the Dark Energy Survey (DES); dark-energy science; non--dark-energy science; and more-general topics discussed by two anthropologists, a philosopher two visual artists, and a poet; as well as a general assessment of DES and the future of dark energy by David Weinberg. Most of the authors and editors are closely involved with DES, so this is mostly the `inside story', although the external views in the last part are an interesting addition, especially Chapter 23, `An Anthropological Angle: Credit and Uncertainty in the Dark Energy Survey', which, among other things, addresses the sometimes precarious working conditions of those without permanent jobs who contribute significantly to the project. Kudos goes to the editors for producing a work which, despite the multitude of sources, is very uniform in style, level, and quality. There is much to look forward to: 300 million photometric redshifts, 200 million galaxies with measured shapes, 380 thousand galaxy clusters, thousands of supernovae, a couple of dozen newly discovered satellites of the Milky Way, a hundred strongly lensed QSOs, 100 million stars, 300 new trans-Neptunian objects, a score or so new Jupiter Trojans, 200 thousand main-belt asteroids, several hundred Kuiper-Belt objects. This is a nicely produced book which should appeal to a wide readership; it would be nice to have similar books about the many other observational projects currently underway or planned.

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