Explorer of the dark Universe sent the first images

ESA has published the first test images obtained by the recently launched Euclid telescope. The pictures demonstrate its technical capabilities.

Explorer of the Dark Universe

The Euclid telescope was created by ESA as part of the Cosmic Vision scientific program. Its main task is to study the mysterious dark matter and dark energy — invisible forces that, according to scientists, make up 95% of the known Universe.

The Euclid telescope in the test chamber. Source: ESA-Manuel Pedoussaut

To reveal the influence of dark matter and dark energy on ordinary matter, Euclid will carry out high-precision measurements of the redshifts of distant galaxies located within a radius of up to 10 billion light-years from the Milky Way. This telescope will be assisted by a 1.2-meter mirror installed on board, as well as two scientific instruments: a visible radiation visualizer (VIS), and a near-infrared spectrometer and photometer (NISP).

First images of the Euclid telescope

Euclid was launched on July 1. By the end of the month, it reached its destination — the L2 Lagrange point located at a distance of 1.5 million km from the Earth. It is a popular working position for space observatories. In particular, it is in the vicinity of point L2 that the famous James Webb Telescope is located.

Test images obtained by the VIS tool. Source: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

After Euclid reached its working position, the mission specialists activated its instruments and took a number of test pictures. Since the images were taken with virtually no camera calibration and were not subjected to post-processing, they contain some artifacts. Nevertheless, according to the engineers, even these early images confidently demonstrate the promising capabilities of the observatory.

Test images obtained by the NISP tool in grism mode. Source: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

In the next few months, engineers will be engaged in calibration of Euclid cameras. Upon its completion, the telescope will begin its main scientific program. It is designed for six years with the possibility of further extension.

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