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Dragonfly is an innovative, multi-lens array designed for ultra-low surface brightness astronomy at visible wavelengths. Commissioned in 2013, the array is proving capable of detecting extremely faint, complex structure around galaxies.
According to Cold Dark Matter (CDM) cosmology, structure in the Universe grows from the “bottom up”, with small galaxies merging to form larger ones. Evidence of such mergers can be seen in faint streams and filaments visible around the Milky Way Galaxy and the nearby M31 galaxy.
But the CDM model predicts that we should see more of this structure than is currently observed. However, images obtained using even the largest, most advanced telescopes today contain scattered light that may be hiding this faint structure.
Dragonfly is designed to reveal the faint structure by greatly reducing scattered light and internal reflections within its optics. It achieves this using ten, commercially available Canon 400mm lenses with unprecedented nano-fabricated coatings with sub-wavelength structure on optical glasses.