The main objective of the PAU project is to understand the Physics of the Accelerating Universe (PAU) by means of a large cosmological galaxy survey that map the cosmological expansion with unprecedented combination of density and radial distance accuracy.
The PAU Survey will provide simultaneous measurement of the cosmic expansion and growth history of structures to differentiate between the hypothetical existence of dark energy and alternative explanations, such as the modification of gravity or other laws of nature.
The PAU Camera (PAUCam) consists of an array of 18 red-sensitive CCDs of 4kx2k pixels, sensitive to the entire optical range, including the reddest light. The camera is equipped with a system of 40 narrow-band (10nm width) and 6 wide-band (100nm width) filters spanning the entire optical range (300nm to 1000nm). This results in a multicolor map of the sky where each pixel has a low resolution spectra. PAUCam can image about 2 square degree per night, providing photometric spectra for around 30,000 galaxies, 5,000 stars and 1,000 quasars.
PAUCam has been mounted on the prime focus of the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), a 4m-class telescope located in the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in La Palma, Canary Islands. The instrument received its first light in June 2015.
The IEEC, through the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), has a leading role as Principal Investigator for the PAU Camera and the PAU Survey Science, within a consortium including IFAE, CIEMAT, IFT/UAM and some foreign institutions from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Members of the IEEC held the prominent positions of PAU Survey Director and PAUcam Project Scientist. The IEEC is also responsible for the Data Management and Data Reduction.