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The first data catalog from the Euclid Space Telescope – the telescope mapped 16 million cosmic objects in just one day

The first data catalog from the Euclid Space Telescope – the telescope mapped 16 million cosmic objects in just one day

Rebellious planets, distant galaxies and the distribution of dark matter: the European Space Agency (ESA) has published new images and research data from the Euclid Space Telescope. It underscores the telescope's unique ability to image large portions of the sky at a glance down to the finest detail, and the early release catalog of 16 million objects was created in just one day of observing – and it's just the beginning.

The Euclid Space Telescope, which was launched into space in July 2023, aims to map the universe comprehensively and in detail for the first time over the next few years. This should help clarify fundamental questions about the “dark” components of the universe – dark energy and dark matter. To do this, the telescope maps billions of galaxies in the visible and infrared range, spread over more than a third of the sky, with images at least four times sharper than those captured by ground-based telescopes. The first recordings have already confirmed this.

Euclid's image of spiral galaxy NGC 6744 as an example of a common type of galaxy in the universe. © ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Colander (CEA Paris-Saclay), c. Anselme/ CC-by-sa 3.0 IGO

The first data catalog and amazing recordings

Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has published the first scientific data from the Euclid mission, as well as five new images accompanied by ten scientific publications based on these early launch observations. “Euclid is a unique and pioneering mission, and these are the first datasets to be published – it is an important milestone,” says Valeria Pettorino, Euclid project scientist at ESA.

“The images and associated scientific findings are impressively diverse in terms of the objects and distances observed,” Petorino continued. “It covers a variety of scientific applications and represents just 24 hours of observing time. This space telescope aims to address the biggest unanswered questions in cosmology, and these early observations clearly show that Euclid is up to the task.”

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From dark to bright and from small to large

“The beauty of Euclid is that it covers large areas of the sky in great detail and depth, and can capture a wide range of different objects in a single image – from faint to bright, far to near, and from the most massive galaxy clusters to small galaxy clusters.” Planets. We get a very detailed and very broad view simultaneously. This amazing diversity has led to many new scientific findings that, combined with the results of the Euclid Survey, will dramatically change our understanding of the universe in the coming years.

The full set of early observations targeted 17 astronomical objects, from nearby gas and dust clouds to distant galaxy clusters. The 10 publications based on this include results on the detection of exoplanets floating in space without their parent star, and also on the distribution and structure of dwarf galaxies and low surface brightness galaxies. Other results relate to globular star clusters close to galaxies, the distribution of dark matter or galaxies with high redshifts magnified using gravitational lensing.

16 million objects in 24 hours

The entire catalog, which Euclid created in just one day of observation, includes more than eleven million objects in visible light and another five million in the infrared range. “Euclid demonstrates European excellence at the limits of the current state of science and at cutting-edge technology,” says ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher. “Euclid is at the beginning of his exciting journey to map the structure of the universe.”

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Source: European Space Agency

May 24, 2024 – Nadja Podbrigar