May 6, 2024 | SlashGear via UVic News

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, located in Chile, is on the brink of revolutionizing our comprehension of the universe, especially the enigmatic dark matter that constitutes 27% of it. This observatory, boasting the largest digital camera ever built for astronomy, will embark on a decade-long extensive sky survey, amassing a wealth of data each night. Its primary mission is to decode the mysteries of dark matter using techniques such as gravitational lensing and the observation of stellar streams, which will facilitate astronomers in detecting and studying dark matter.

At the forefront of those anticipating the data from the Rubin Observatory is Jaclyn Jensen, a PhD Graduate Student at the University of Victoria. Jensen’s research, which is centered on Galactic archaeology, stellar streams, and Galactic evolution, holds immense promise. Stellar streams, often compared to strings of pearls, can yield invaluable information about their origins and the interactions they may have undergone. Jensen, in an article from SlashGear, elucidates that the discovery of a stellar stream with a few scattered stars in proximity could indicate that an entity, possibly dark matter, may have disrupted the string.

In her master’s thesis, Jensen ventured further into the realm of Galactic archaeology. She investigated the stellar halo of the Milky Way, employing blue horizontal branch stars (BHBs) as a tracer population with accurately measured distances. Her work has resulted in the identification of several well-known satellites, including a group of stars near a distant globular cluster (NGC 5466). Jensen’s research underscores the potential of the Rubin Observatory’s data in propelling our understanding of the universe forward.

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory and researchers like Jaclyn Jensen are spearheading a new era in astronomy, with the goal of unraveling the universe and the enigma of dark matter. For those intrigued by this field and eager to delve deeper, Jensen’s master’s thesis is available on UVicSpace. It provides additional insights into her research and the exciting discoveries in Galactic archaeology and dark matter. This is a testament to the significant strides being made in this field, and a clear indication of the pivotal role Jensen’s research plays in this journey of discovery!