… exquisite images over vast areas of the sky taken very quickly, to great depths, with razor-sharp precision … And it’s those ingredients pulled together that is going to make Euclid the iconic cosmology mission of the day.European Space Agency (ESA) science director Carole Mundell after the first images from the ESA’s robotic Euclid Telescope were released.
The Big Picture: On Tuesday, the first images from the European Space Agency’s Euclid telescope were released: colored images of the universe. In the images, the Horsehead Nebula (~1,375 light-years from Earth) and the Perseus Cluster (100,000+ galaxies 240 million light-years from Earth) can be seen, along with close-up images of different galaxies.
Why Does It Matter? In contrast to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the Euclid can collect data from an area more than 100x larger, which is perfect, “when you want to look for a needle in a haystack,” explained Dr. Michael Seiffert, a NASA cosmologist and member of the Euclid mission. “The data that came out represents less than a day’s worth of observing. We’re just going to be drowning in data for years and years to come,” Seiffert said.
What is Euclid? Launched to space in July from Cape Canaveral in Florida, this telescope has been sent to study the “evolution of the dark Universe“ for approximately six years. Scientific operations are set to begin in early 2024. It will “make a 3D-map of the Universe … by observing billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years, across more than a third of the sky,” and is expected to help scientists understand dark energy, which “accelerates the expansion of the Universe,” and dark matter, which “governs the growth of cosmic structures” (ESA).
Who Is Involved? The Euclid is built and operated by the ESA with contributions from NASA. More than 2,000 scientists from 13 European countries, the US, Japan and Canada are involved.
Euclid overview (The European Space Agency)
Euclid Telescope Dazzles With Detailed First Images of Our Universe (The New York Times)
by Sarah Pinkerton,