What is the Euclid Space Telescope?
Euclid is a space telescope launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) with NASA as a partner. Its mission is to explore dark matter and dark energy, which are believed to constitute about 95% of the universe.
What are the first images from Euclid?
The first images include the Horsehead Nebula and span four areas of the universe. They showcase the telescope's capability to observe billions of galaxies, some as far as 10 billion light-years away.
What did the images reveal?
The images showed the Perseus cluster, containing 1,000 galaxies 240 million light-years away, and over 100,000 other galaxies. These observations support the existence of dark matter due to the organized structures and movements of galaxies that can't be explained by visible matter alone.
What is dark matter?
Dark matter is a hypothetical substance that influences the rotation of galaxies and the formation of massive structures in the universe. It's invisible and detectable only through its gravitational effects.
What is dark energy?
Dark energy is a mysterious force discovered in the 1990s. It's believed to be responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe, a concept that led to a Nobel Prize in 2011.
What will Euclid do next?
Euclid will create a 3D map covering about a third of the sky to detect variations caused by dark matter and energy. This will help scientists understand galaxy formation and distribution.
How long will the Euclid mission last?
The mission is designed for six years, with a potential extension of six months. Euclid operates from a stable position in solar orbit, 1.5 million km from Earth at the Lagrange point 2 (L2).
What else did Euclid capture?
Other images include an irregular galaxy, thought to be a building block of the universe, and a spiral formation known as the “Hidden Galaxy”, similar to the Milky Way but usually obscured by light and dust.
Why is this mission important?
By studying dark matter and energy, Euclid aims to deepen our understanding of the universe's structure, origins, and evolution.