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 Astrophysics & Space Sciences: Projects
OMEGA Explorer Icon

OMEGA Explorer

Deciphering the nature of the Dark Matter that makes up a full quarter of the mass energy budget of the universe is one of the outstanding scientific puzzles of our time. We know that dark matter likely consists of exotic new particles that have not yet been found experimentally, though on astronomical scales their gravity plays a starring role in the gravitational evolution of structure. By mapping the granularity and distribution of dark matter structures in detail, we may infer the physical properties of the dark matter particle. The Observatory for Multi-Epoch Gravitational lens Astrophysics (OMEGA) is an Explorer scale mission concept that aims to do just this, using observations of the extraordinary natural phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing. OMEGA will be dedicated to monitoring time-variable strong gravitational lenses, where distant Active Galactic Nuclei are imaged into multiple images. Because of the different paths that light takes to reach us along each line of sight, there will be a time difference in seeing fluctuations between images. Granular dark matter structures produce a systematic effect on these time-differences that may be characterized with a dedicated observatory such as OMEGA. PI: L. Moustakas

The OMEGA concept was submitted to the Explorer 2011 NASA opportunity, and was ranked Category II ("selectable").

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Peter  Eisenhardt
Peter Eisenhardt
Structure of the Universe (3266)
WISE Project Scientist
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Leonidas  Moustakas
Leonidas Moustakas
Astrophysics & Space Sciences
Section Manager
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