Education and Outreach Blog

« Back

NCSA Collaboration Helps Discover New Dwarf Planet

While cataloguing dark energy in space, scientists made a startling discovery with help from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) supercomputer Blue Waters. The discovery: A new dwarf planet, temporarily named DeeDee. The Chilean telescope at the center of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) discovered the icy planet over the summer. Previous telescopes didn't detect the planet, which is as faint as a single candle 100,000 miles away. Researchers from the University of Michigan wrote a program that runs on Blue Waters—the most powerful supercomputer on an academic campus—to analyze and extract the imagery from the telescope. "The same sensitivity that makes this a state-of-the-art survey of the distant universe also makes it a powerful tool to look for new objects in our own cosmic backyard," said David Gerdes, the University of Michigan physics and astronomy professor who led the planet-finding team. "These analyses made use of DES data products and would not have been possible without the outstanding work of NCSA." Learn more at

Trackback URL:

No comments yet. Be the first.