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HAS Monthly Meeting via Zoom - February 2nd at 7:00 pm CST

Measuring Dark Energy at Cosmic Noon with HETDEX with the help of Machine Learning and Citizen Scientists

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By:  Erin Mentuch Cooper

The Hobby-Eberly Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is a survey designed to map out the 3D positions of over one million galaxies during Cosmic Noon, at a time when the universe was just 2 to 3 billion years old. This map will reveal the contribution of Dark Energy to the cosmological state of the early universe. HETDEX uses the largest astronomical instrument developed so far on the HET telescope at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. With each HETDEX observation, over 100 thousand spectra of the sky are collected. We now have over 500 million optical spectra. To help hunt for these galaxies and exclude contaminants from detector artifacts and noise, multiple machine learning techniques are employed. In this talk, I will describe the HETDEX experiment and discuss how we use visual classifications from citizen scientists in our Dark Energy Explorers campaign ( and machine learning to help classify our data and identify contaminants from meteors, satellites, detector artifacts and other anomalies.

Our Speaker: Erin Mentuch Cooper is a Research Scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the Data Manager on the HETDEX experiment and the software developer of HETDEX-API and the HETDEX JupyterLab. She has her PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Toronto and her main science interests are in galaxy evolution and large-scale structure.


This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. To attend, you must register for the meeting. You can do so using the link below. You will receive an email with the details of the meeting and a link that will allow you to join in.

You only need to register once!

Join us Friday, February 2nd, 2024, at 7:00 pm CST.

See you then!