This awesome piece of scientific equipment is a South Pole Telescope detector wafer at Fermilab’s silicon detector facility. Those swirly figures on its surface that resemble a neotribal tattoo are tiny antennas. But what does the entire instrument do? Fermilab explains the rest:
Photos of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, have become a common enough sight, but a less frequently seen phenomenon is their Southern cousin, the Aurora Australis, which create a spectacular light show over the Antarctic desert.
Is an invisible, undetectable force tearing the universe apart? The South Pole Telescope is scanning the skies for signs of dark energy to help pinpoint the cause of cosmic expansion. The answers it provides could allow us to better explain the origin of the universe and its ultimate fate.