NIST technology helps scientists around the world understand the features and evolution of the universe. For example, NIST sensors and electronics help astrophysicists study the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the afterglow left over from the earliest moments of the hot, dense early universe. By looking out in space, scientists look back in time.
Telescope designers choose NIST’s superconducting sensors because they offer record sensitivity to faint light, can be customized to detect many colors, and can be packaged to minimize systematic errors. NIST amplifiers help boost signal strength, and NIST’s unique electronics make large sensor arrays possible by combining all data simultaneously in a minimum number of wires.
NIST technologies have found homes among the stars more than once. Learn more about how NIST instruments are being deployed on orbiting satellites and telescopes to get a clear look at light and objects beyond the Earth’s interfering atmosphere.
NIST sensors and electronics are mounted on telescope cameras around the globe to aid in the search for tiny energy fluctuations and other telltale patterns that are clues to the formation of galaxies and other structures after the birth of the universe 13.8 billion years ago. Learn more about the telescopes that house NIST technology, the research being done there and the great discoveries being made.