The Euclid space telescope successfully reached its destination orbit on 28 July after being launched at the start of the month. Its mission is to uncover the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
The European operators of the telescope on 31 July shared the first test images that were taken during the commissioning phase, which involves the precise calibration of the telescope's instruments.
Although these images do not fully represent the telescope's capabilities, they show that the telescope is looking good to fulfill its critical mission.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is excited about these initial results, as they mark a key milestone after over 11 years of designing and developing Euclid.
After launching from Florida, the satellite traveled approximately 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth to reach its observational orbit.
Euclid's mission is to create the largest-ever map of the universe, covering up to two billion galaxies across more than a third of the sky.
Using advanced technology, Euclid will capture light that has taken 10 billion years to reach Earth, providing a unique perspective on the history of the 13.8-billion-year-old universe.
Equipped with a visible light camera, as well as a near-infrared spectrometre and photometre developed in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Euclid will not only measure the shape of galaxies but also determine their distance from us.
Scientists are eager to use the information picked up by Euclid to address a perplexing cosmic mystery: the vast majority of the universe, approximately 95 per cent, remains unknown to humanity.
The universe is believed to be composed of approximately 70 per cent dark energy, an unknown force responsible for its accelerated expansion.
Additionally, around 25 per cent of the universe is thought to consist of dark matter, which plays a crucial role in binding the cosmos together and contributes to about 80 per cent of its total mass.
Euclid's scientific operations will begin in October this year.
ð¥ They're here... the first test images from the #DarkUniverse ðµï¸ detective give us a tantalising glimpse of what is yet to come from a fully calibrated mission later this autumn ð¤©— ESA's Euclid mission (@ESA_Euclid) July 31, 2023
Explore the #ESAEuclid images here ð https://t.co/InMugFwnv6 and below ð pic.twitter.com/ZocGqwk4ta
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