Euclid eyes new detail
Space telescope Euclid's inaugural test images have revealed some promising results.
The images (accessible here), capturing just a fraction of Euclid's capabilities, showcase the telescope's capacity to observe galaxies in visible and near-infrared light.
The fully calibrated Euclid will ultimately create the most extensive 3D map of the sky by observing billions of galaxies, revealing crucial insights into the 95 per cent of the Universe that remains largely unknown.
Euclid's visible instrument (VIS) captures super sharp images of galaxies, with a recent test image revealing a rich array of galaxies waiting to be unveiled in the future. Despite covering only a quarter of the full Moon's width and height, the image provides detailed information, reflecting the groundbreaking potential of Euclid's VIS.
Euclid faced an initial challenge when an unexpected pattern of light contaminated the images due to sunlight creeping into the spacecraft. However, the team successfully addressed this issue by adjusting the telescope's orientation.
In the realm of infrared light, Euclid's Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument plays a dual role in imaging galaxies and measuring their emitted light at various wavelengths.
Combining this data with VIS's galaxy shape measurements will yield a comprehensive 3D map, providing insights into dark matter and dark energy.
Acknowledging that artefacts remain in the unprocessed images, including cosmic rays in the VIS image, the Euclid Consortium plans to transform longer-exposed survey observations into high-quality, artefact-free, and detailed images.
Over the next few months, ESA and industry partners will continue testing Euclid to ensure optimal performance before embarking on the mission's true scientific phase, where a new set of images will showcase Euclid's full capabilities.