The James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble have a new companion: the Euclid Space Telescope. This piece of high-tech art was developed by scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) and its mission is to peer into the deep space of the universe. Now the telescope is operational, and has already provided us with stunning images.
The European Space Agency's Euclid Space Telescope will study deep space
The European Space Agency launched the Euclid Telescope on July 1, 2023. The mission of this instrument is to improve understanding of energy and dark matter. This mission will be achieved Accurately measuring the acceleration of the universe.
Euclid was equipped with a 1.2 meter diameter telescope and two scientific instruments. Inside its structure is an element called VIS, which is nothing more than a spectrograph that measures properties of galaxies, such as their mass, chemical composition and speed.
Furthermore, the telescope, which is also placed at Lagrange Point L2 (where James Webb is also located), contains another element called NISP, a photometer that measures the brightness and shape of galaxies.
Over the course of six years, Euclid will observe millions of galaxies across more than a third of the sky. The data collected by the telescope will allow astronomers to:
- Measuring the rate of acceleration of the universe. This will help understand the nature of dark energy, which is thought to be responsible for the acceleration.
- Mapping the distribution of dark matter in the universe. This will help understand how dark matter shaped the evolution of the universe.
- Study of the formation and evolution of galaxies. This will help understand how galaxies formed and changed throughout the history of the universe.
The European Space Agency publishes the first images taken by the Euclid telescope
The European Space Agency (ESA) on Tuesday (7) released the first five images produced by the Euclid telescope, which sent 1.5 million kilometers from Earth to investigate the mysteries of dark matter and energy, which occupy 95% of the Earth's surface and the universe.
The images show never-before-seen galaxies, a massive star cluster, and even details of the nebula's interior and the clouds of dust and gas that give rise to stars.
This stunning shot of Euclid is a revolution in astronomy. The image shows 1,000 galaxies belonging to the Perseus cluster and more than 100,000 other, more distant galaxies in the background.
Many of these fuzzy galaxies have never been seen before. Some are so far away that it takes 10 billion years for their light to reach us. By mapping the distribution and shapes of these galaxies, cosmologists will be able to discover more about how dark matter shaped the universe we see today.
This is the first time such a large image has allowed us to capture so many Perseus galaxies at such a high level of detail. The Perseus Swarm is one of the most compact structures in the universe, located just 240 million light-years from Earth.
Astronomers have shown that galaxy clusters like Perseus could only form if dark matter was present in the universe. Euclid will observe many Perseus-like galaxy clusters across cosmic time, revealing the "dark" element holding them together.
Over its lifetime, our dark universe will be a reflection of billions of galaxies, revealing the unprecedented influence of dark matter and dark energy on it. So it's fitting that one of the first galaxies observed by Euclid was called the "hidden galaxy", also known as IC 342 or Caldwell 5.
Thanks to his infrared vision, Euclid has already discovered basic information about the stars in this galaxy, which is similar to our own Milky Way.
To create a 3D map of the universe, Euclid will monitor light coming from galaxies up to 10 billion light-years away. Most galaxies in the early universe do not appear to be perfect spirals, but rather irregular and small.
They are the building blocks of larger galaxies like our own, and we can still find some of these galaxies relatively close to us. The first irregular dwarf galaxy observed by Euclid is called NGC 6822 and it is nearby, just 1.6 million light-years from Earth.
This bright image shows a Euclid view of the globular cluster called NGC 6397. This is the second closest globular cluster to Earth, located at a distance of about 7,800 light-years.
Globular clusters are collections of hundreds of thousands of stars that are held together by gravity. At present, no telescope other than Euclid can observe an entire globular cluster in a single observation and, at the same time, distinguish several stars in the object. These fading stars tell us the story of the Milky Way and the whereabouts of dark matter.
Euclid shows us a stunningly detailed panorama of the Horsehead Nebula, also known as Barnard 33 and part of the Orion constellation.
In Euclid's new observation of this stellar bastion, scientists expect to find many never-before-seen Jupiter-mass planets in their celestial budding, as well as young stars and brown dwarfs.
New discoveries, coming soon
Euclid's first vision of the universe is not only beautiful, but also of extraordinary value to the scientific community.
First, it shows that Euclid's telescope and its instruments work perfectly and that astronomers can use Euclid to study the distribution and evolution of matter in the universe on the largest scales. Combining many observations of this quality, covering large areas of the sky, will show us the dark and hidden parts of the universe.
Second, each individual image contains a wealth of information about the nearby universe.
In the coming months, scientists from the Euclid Consortium will analyze these images and publish a series of scientific articles in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, as well as documents about the scientific goals of the Euclid mission and the performance of the instrument.
said Yannick Millier, Euclid Union leader.
Finally, these images take us beyond the world of dark matter and dark energy, and also show how Euclid will create a treasure trove of information about the physics of individual stars and galaxies.
Over the course of six years, Euclid will survey a third of the sky with unprecedented precision and sensitivity. As the mission progresses, the Euclid database will be released once a year and will be available to the global scientific community through the Astronomy Archive housed at ESA's European Space Astronomy Center in Spain.
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