Euclid telescope spies shimmering stars and galaxies in its first look at the ‘dark’ universe
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On November 7, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the first five images taken with its premier Euclid space telescope. The images show spiral galaxies, star nurseries, and incredible celestial objects in incredibly sharp detail.
In July, Euclid launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It’s on a mission of studying the mysterious influence of dark matter and dark energy on the universe and mapping one third of the extragalactic sky. According to the ESA, 95 percent of our cosmos appears to be made of these mysterious ‘dark’ entities. But we don’t understand what they are because their presence causes only very subtle changes in the appearance and motions of the things we can see.
“Dark matter pulls galaxies together and causes them to spin more rapidly than visible matter alone can account for; dark energy is driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Euclid will for the first-time allow cosmologists to study these competing dark mysteries together,” Carole Mundell, ESA Director of Science, said in a statement. “Euclid will make a leap in our understanding of the cosmos as a whole, and these exquisite Euclid images show that the mission is ready to help answer one of the greatest mysteries of modern physics.”
Euclid will observe the shapes, distances, and motions of billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years over the course of the next six years.