Forums Historical Software Bisque Blogs Daniel R. Bisque’s Blog Dragonfly 44 (Updated)

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    Daniel R. Bisque

    The Dunlap Institute's Dragonfly project is making news again.  This time, what they've discovered might even give you goose bumps…it sure got my adrenaline flowing!

    The original Paramount ME II mounted, 10-lens Dragonfly system used to discover Dragonfly 44. 

    In July, 2014, Dr. Roberto Abraham, our pal from the University of Toronto, and his associates from Yale University made headlines when their 10-eyed, Paramount ME II-mounted, TheSkyX Professional Edition-controlled, multi-lens array discovered several new ultra-low surface brightness objects near M101

    This is the kind of totally cool stuff that geeks like us who develop astronomy software, as well as design and manufacture robotic telescope mounts, live for.

    Enter Dragonfly's latest discovery: Dragonfly 44.  At 300-million light years distant, this new galaxy's mass comes from about 99.99% dark matter, the rest from stars.  The galaxy's makeup is so unique, the scientific community is scratching its collective head trying to interpret the implications. 

    “Objects like Dragonfly 44 are going to be amazingly useful cosmic laboratories for groups working on investigations of dark matter, since it's turning out that at least some of them are relatively “clean” examples of massive concentrations of dark matter with relatively few contaminating baryons,” says Dr. Abraham.

    Dragonfly's “novel” 10-lens data acquisition system was upgraded this summer to incorporate two separate systems with a total of 48 individual telephoto lenses using twin Paramount Taurus 600's, controlled by TheSkyX Professional Edition.  “Hold on to your hat for what we are going to find with the 48 lens setup,” adds Abraham.

    A Paramount Taurus model 600 shouldering over 500 pounds (227 kg) of pure light-gathering power (24 of the 48 Dragonfly eyes).


    The Dragonfly system in action.

    All of us at Software Bisque want to congratulate Roberto and his team on this latest discovery.  I'm hoping they find their way to Stockholm, Sweden soon.  If this ground-breaking, result-rich research is not worthy of the Nobel Prize in physics, what is?

    A front view of the upgraded Dragonfly system showing the 24 telephoto lenses. 

    Related Dragonfly Articles:

    Other notes:

    • All photos courtesy of the Dragonfly team. 
    • Both Dragonfly systems are housed at New Mexico Skies in Mayhill, NM, USA.

    Kevin Covey

    Thanks Richard. That was very interesting. I'd never heard of this DragonFly project. Very cool.



    This is beyond coooool. Particularly this issue of the Dark Matter being such a high proportion of all the matter present.

    Oh, and well done SB!!




    I thoughts the SkyX could only control 2 camera's at a time?  How are the other 22 cameras in this set up being managed – running 12 copies of the SkyX or having seperate third party software managing all those cameras?


    Daniel R. Bisque

    @g__day: You're right; TheSkyX Pro with the Camera Add On can control any two supported detectors simultaneously.  

    The Dragonfly Project employs a dedicated computer for each sensor.


    David Gwyn

    The Dragonfly Project is at it again, only in reverse this time. When we last wrote about the Dragonfly

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