ESA’s Euclid Space Telescope Returns First Stunning Test Images
Paris, France – The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid space telescope has beamed back its first test images from 1.5 million km away in orbit. Showing a plethora of galaxies, the successful photos mark a critical milestone for the ambitious mission to map the cosmos and uncover the secrets of dark energy.
Major Step for Mapping the Universe
Launched July 1 atop a SpaceX rocket, Euclid has completed initial on-orbit testing and calibration. While still containing some artifacts, the returned images cover an area equivalent to a quarter of the Moon’s width.
Myriad galaxies are visible even in the raw test images. Euclid’s two instruments – VIS capturing visible light and NIR surveying infrared – will produce incredibly detailed observations with further calibration.
Euclid aims to generate the most extensive 3D map of the universe by cataloging billions of galaxies. This will enable new insights into dark energy, matter, and cosmic expansion.
Italy Leads Strong Collaboration
The ambitious $1.5 billion project represents years of international collaboration led by the ESA. Italy contributed extensive efforts through the Italian Space Agency, the National Institute of Astrophysics, and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics.
Over 200 Italian scientists worked on Euclid alongside academic researchers from the Universities of Bologna, Ferrara, Genoa, Milan, Roma Tre, Trieste, and others.
Experts from the U.S., Japan, and other ESA members also aided Euclid’s design, development, and creation of its cutting-edge instruments.
Exploring Cosmic Mysteries
With initial system checks complete, Euclid’s real mission will soon commence. Over six years, it will conduct a deep survey to help unpack mysteries like dark matter and cosmic expansion.
As ESA’s Euclid project manager Giuseppe Racca stated, “Once fully calibrated, Euclid will observe billions of galaxies to create the largest 3D map of the sky ever seen.”