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Euclid Telescope Captures Stunning First Images of the Universe

An image from Euclid in infrared light taken to confirm its proper functionality

ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

The Euclid space telescope, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), has unveiled its first set of test images. These stunning pictures capture clusters of gleaming stars and galaxies, signifying that the telescope is commencing its ambitious mission of mapping a vast segment of the cosmos.

Launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on July 1st, Euclid took approximately one month to reach its final orbit, which is four times farther from Earth than the moon. During its journey, scientists on the ground were actively engaged in activating and calibrating its two cameras.

The initial images from the telescope demonstrate that both cameras are performing as expected, observing the universe in both visible and infrared light. Although the images only cover an area of the sky about one-quarter the size of the full moon, Euclid is anticipated to survey an area around 300,000 times larger over the course of its six-year mission, encompassing roughly a third of the entire celestial sphere.

Another calibration image from Euclid, captured in the visible spectrum

ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

“We can see only a few galaxies here, obtained through minimal system adjustment,” remarked Giuseppe Racca, Euclid’s project manager at ESA, in a statement. “Once fully calibrated, Euclid will ultimately observe billions of galaxies to construct the largest-ever 3D map of the universe.”

Upon completion of the calibration process, which is expected to take a few months, Euclid will commence its mapping efforts. The primary objective is to determine the distribution of matter in the universe, closely analyzing its clustering and motion, thus providing scientists with unprecedented insights into the enigmatic realms of dark matter and dark energy.

“These initial engineering images offer a tantalizing glimpse of the remarkable data that Euclid is set to provide,” stated Carole Mundell, ESA’s Director of Science. With continued success, we can expect crucial measurements related to the most mysterious components of the universe to be unveiled soon.

Topics:

  • astronomy/
  • Space telescopes

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