The Euclid telescope has sent back its first images directly from its ‘Dark Universe’ mission. The telescope is part of the European Space Agency‘s (ESA) €1 billion mission ($1.07 billion) to unravel the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
According to the ESA, 95% of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy. The mission is exploring ‘beyond Einstein’ and pushing the boundaries of scientific understanding.
These first images provide a glimpse of the Perseus galaxy cluster and the wonderful Horsehead nebula. Euclid’s images are special. The telescope can create an incredibly sharp visible and infrared image across a huge part of the sky in just one go.
The recently released images are remarkable for their sharpness, even when they are zoomed to extreme amounts on distant galaxies.
Over the next six years, Euclid will view around 8 billion galaxies using infrared and visible light. It will cover roughly 36% of the night sky.
A galaxy far, far away
The Euclid telescope is able to detect galaxies up to 10 billion light-years away. The mission’s main objective is to build the largest cosmic 3D map ever put together. This map will let astronomers plot the wide distribution of dark matter and unveil dark energy’s influence in the early universe.
Incredibly sharp images
René Laureijs, the ESA’s Euclid project scientist, says, “We have never seen astronomical images like this before, containing so much detail. They are even more beautiful and sharp than we could have hoped for, showing us many previously unseen features in well-known areas of the nearby universe. Now we are ready to observe billions of galaxies and study their evolution over cosmic time.”
Indeed, these Euclid images are certainly giving the James Webb Telescope a run for its money!