David Gerdes of the University of Michigan led the team that found the new dwarf planet. They used a special camera called the Dark Energy Camera that the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned to make a map of distant galaxies. Software was developed to compare observations over many months to detect movement (which indicates planets and asteroids and not distant stars).
The Dark Energy Camera, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy to make a map of distant galaxies, is mounted on the Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in the Chilean Andes.
Reidar Hahn/Courtesy of The Dark Energy Survey