One month after Europe launched a telescope into space, it has begun taking the first images of our universe and recording data. The European Space Agency is elated to see that their $1.5 billion technological advancement is working well.
This week, the European Space Agency received its first images and data from its $1.5 billion space telescope that they launched into space last month. While scientists waited patiently, they finally can breathe a sigh of relief, as everything seems to be working accordingly.
The telescope is currently in its months-long commissioning phase where its visual and infrared light cameras have begun capturing photos of our universe’s cosmos. The scientists who worked on the development of these cameras have stated that everything is working superbly, according to reports from ARS Technica.
“We are very pleased that the commissioning phase of Euclid is progressing well,” Alessandra Roy, Euclid project manager at the German Space Agency at DLR, said.
“The spacecraft will soon reach its final position at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and begin scientific observations.”
The telescope has been named Euclid, and according to the reports, it has a primary mirror that spans 1.2 meters, around half of the size of the Hubble Space Telescope. Euclid, unlike Hubble, was designed to look at broad areas of the sky to collect a more detailed view of the cosmos, while Hubble is designed to focus on a single galaxy, star, etc.
Euclid will continue to observe and collect data on large areas of the universe and detect the shapes of certain galaxies to allow scientists to further understand distortions in these galaxies that could be caused by hidden matter. Scientists believe that the matter in the universe that we can look up at the night sky and see only accounts for about 5% of the matter in the Universe; and is made up of mainly stars and galaxies.
Euclid is trying to fill in the gaps of our understanding of the universe based on what we’re able to visualize normally. Scientists have determined within the past two decades that 25% of the universe’s mass is made up of dark or hidden matter, while the remaining mass is referred to as dark energy. Dark energy is an unknown force that causes the universe to accelerate its expansion. Josef Aschbacker, ESA’s director general, stated his happiness regarding the recent success of Euclid’s first image and data collection.
“It is fantastic to see the latest addition to ESA’s fleet of science missions is already performing well.”
“I have full confidence that the team behind the mission will succeed using Euclid to reveal so much about the 95% of the universe that we currently know so little about,” Aschbacher explained.
Scientists are hoping to gain a greater understanding over what dark matter is actually made of, and further confirm its existence, which would be a huge advancement for physics and the study of the cosmos.
Once Euclid is fully calibrated, it will observe billions of galaxies in the night sky to provide data so scientists can create a detailed 3D map of the universe. Euclid is also known as one of the first space-based telescopes to be designed after the discovery of dark energy.
The ESA and its partners, which includes NASA, will continuously test and check on the telescope and its inner workings over the next few months, as planned. After the commissioning phase of the process, the scientists will move into the science phase of the mission, ideally beginning later this year.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.