Start of the Largest Dark Matter and Dark Energy Observation Campaign

Published by Adrien - Thursday, February 22, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: CNRS IN2P3

Seven months after its launch, the Euclid space telescope begins its observation campaign which, over the next six years, will observe billions of galaxies to the edges of the Universe.

Image ESA

Green light for Euclid: after six months of commissioning and testing, the ESA's space telescope, contributed to by several IN2P3 laboratories, starts its observation campaign today that will shed light, over the next six years, on the distribution of dark matter in the Universe.

Since the launch on July 1st, 2023, the members of the collaboration have been working to check the telescope's operations and to get it ready for its mission. They especially had to deal with an unexpected problem that could negatively impact the mission: some of Euclid's sensors were found to be exposed to a tiny fraction of sunlight despite the sunshield.

Eventually, Euclid was slightly reoriented, its observation angle restricted, and the observation schedule modified so that the telescope's shots partially overlap with each other. Euclid's campaign loses a bit in efficiency, but all areas of the sky targeted by the mission will indeed be swept.

For its first days of observation, Euclid turns to the constellations of Caelum and Pictor, in the Southern Hemisphere, where it will observe an area of 50 square degrees over the next two weeks. Next milestone for cosmologists: the release of data from the first year of observations in the summer of 2025.

The Euclid Telescope

Designed to measure in more detail than ever the shape of billions of galaxies across the history of the Universe, Euclid will provide cosmologists with an invaluable data mine concerning, among other things, the distribution of dark matter in the Universe and the imprint of dark energy.

The telescope stands out from its predecessors by its ability to observe a large part of the sky in a single shot, with 40,000 planned over the six years of its mission.
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