Euclid Space Telescope’s first data catalog – telescope maps 16 million cosmic objects in one day

Renegade planets, distant galaxies and the distribution of dark matter: The European Space Agency ESA has released new images and research data from the Euclid Space Telescope. They confirm the telescope’s unique ability to image large swathes of the sky at a glance and an initial output catalog of 16 million objects was created in just one day of observation – and that’s just the beginning.

The Euclid Space Telescope, which will be launched in July 2023, is intended to map the universe in detail and in detail for the first time in the next few years. This will help clarify fundamental questions about the “dark” components of the universe – dark energy and dark matter. To do this, the telescope covers more than a third of the sky, mapping billions of galaxies in the visible and infrared range, with images at least four times sharper than images from Earth-based telescopes. The first impressions have already confirmed this.

Euclid image of the spiral galaxy NGC 6744, an example of a common type of galaxy in the Universe. Image processing by © ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, J.-C. Guilandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi/ CC-by-sa 3.0 IGO

First data catalog and impressive records

Now the European Space Agency ESA has released the first science data from the Euclid mission, along with five new images and ten science publications based on these initial launch observations. “Euclid is a unique, exciting mission and these are the first datasets to be published – this is an important milestone,” says Valeria Petorino, Euclid project scientist at ESA.

“The images and related scientific findings are interestingly different in terms of observed objects and distances,” Petorino continued. “They cover a wide range of scientific applications and represent just 24 hours of observing time. This space telescope aims to tackle some of the biggest unanswered questions in cosmology – and these early observations clearly show that there is more to it than Euclid’s mission.

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From dim 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 variety of objects in one image – from dim to bright, from far to near, from the largest constellations to the smallest planets. We get a very detailed and very wide view at the same time. This amazing versatility has led to many new scientific results that, along with Euclid’s findings, will significantly change our understanding of the universe in the years to come.”

The full suite of early observations targeted 17 astronomical objects, from nearby gas and dust clouds to distant galaxies. The ten publications based on this include the discovery of exoplanets floating in space without a parent star, but the distribution and structure of dwarf galaxies and galaxies with low surface brightness. Further results show the population of globular star clusters near galaxies, dark matter and the distribution of galaxies at high redshifts magnified using gravitational lensing.

16 million objects in 24 hours

The entire table, 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 frontier of current science and cutting-edge technology,” says ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher. “Euclid is at the beginning of his amazing journey to map the structure of the universe.”

They are: ESA

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May 24, 2024 – Nadja Podbregar

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