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A Milestone for Astronomy

ESA's Euclid Telescope Launched on a Quest to Unveil the Dark Universe

A six-year mission targeting the hidden truths of the universe commences with the promise of unprecedented insight into dark energy and matter.

Launching into the Unknown: A New Era of Exploration Begins

Last Saturday, a momentous event unfolded as the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid observatory was propelled into space on a voyage to explore the enigmatic and unseen domain known as the dark universe. The launch was carried out by SpaceX, aiming for a location 1.5 million km away from Earth, the same vicinity where the James Webb Space Telescope resides.

With the destination reached in a month and another two months to prepare, the Euclid telescope will embark on its ambitious six-year survey come this autumn.

Almost an hour into the flight, flight controllers in Germany erupted in cheers and shouts of jubilation as the telescope signalled back to Earth after a flawless take-off.

A Cosmic Odyssey: What is Euclid’s Mission?

Named in honour of the ancient Greek mathematician, Euclid’s mission encompasses the examination of billions of galaxies, covering over a third of the sky.

The purpose? To pinpoint the location and form of galaxies up to an astonishing 10 billion light-years away—nearly back to the universe’s inception at the Big Bang. Through this, scientists aim to gain an unparalleled understanding of dark energy and dark matter, the mysterious forces that constitute most of the universe and drive its continual expansion.

Presently, a mere 5% of the universe, comprising stars, planets, and us, is understood by scientists. The rest remains a shadowed enigma.

Mapping the Cosmos: The Potential of Euclid’s 3D Map

Euclid’s highly awaited 3D map of the cosmos will stretch across both space and time, seeking to unravel how the dark universe evolved and why its expansion is accelerating.

Costing €1.4 billion, Euclid’s lead scientist has declared that it will measure dark energy and dark matter with a precision never before achieved.

Dispatched to an observation position known as the “2nd Lagrange Point,” 1.5 million km from Earth’s night side, this prime location is favoured for space observatories due to its gravitational sweet spot requiring less fuel for maintenance.

Furthermore, this point is free from the variations in light and temperature experienced by telescopes orbiting closer to Earth, providing stable conditions for observation. The super-space telescope James Webb also shares this advantageous spot.

A Glimpse of the Stars: Sample Imagery

www.esa.int/

Conclusion: A Bright Future for Astronomical Research

With the launch of the Euclid space telescope, we are on the brink of an exhilarating new era of cosmic discovery. The mysteries of dark energy and dark matter might soon be unravelled, shedding light on the darkest corners of our universe. The possibilities are limitless, and the excitement within the scientific community is palpable. This endeavour not only expands our knowledge of the universe but also ignites curiosity and wonder, promising a fascinating journey through space and time. The eyes of the world are now fixed on the stars, eagerly awaiting what Euclid may reveal.

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