I am a member of the Deep Lens Survey collaboration (Tony Tyson, PI, at Bell Labs). The project involves making an ultra-deep multiband optical survey of seven 4 square degree fields. The main goal of the survey is to produce unbiased maps of the large-scale structure of the mass distribution beyond the local universe. The shear of the images of distant galaxies induced by the mass of foreground structures will be measured. These weak-lensing observations are sensitive to all forms of clumped mass and will yield unbiased mass maps with resolution of one arcmin in the plane of the sky (about 120 kpc/h at z = 0.2), in multiple redshift ranges. These maps will measure for the first time the evolution in large scale structure from z=1 to the present epoch, and will provide a test of the current theories of structure formation. These observations will directly constrain the clustering properties of matter, most notably Omega_matter and Omega_Lambda, and, when compared with the results from microwave background anisotropy missions, will test the basic theory of structure formation via gravitational instability. Further details can be found at the Deep Lens Survey homepage. A reference to the first measurement of the "cosmic shear" described here was reported by Wittman et al. (Nature 404 (2000) pp 143-148).
Gravitational lensing is one component of the nuclear, particle and particle-astrophysics programs of the New Mexico Center for Particle Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.