The Euclid Dark Universe Detective Telescope Takes New Super Clear Space Images

23rd May 2024
The Euclid Dark Universe Detective Telescope Takes New Super Clear Space Images

The Euclid space telescope, which is posed to detect the “dark universe”, has recently released five new images of the cosmos that display a variety of celestial bodies with extraordinary clarity.

Why Is The Euclid “Dark Universe Detective”?

Euclid has earned the nickname “dark universe detective” because its main goal is to study the universe’s two most enigmatic components: dark energy and dark matter. Together, they are often referred to as the “dark universe.”

Why You Can’t See The Dark Universe?

In simple words, dark energy is the force that makes the universe expand faster. Dark matter, on the other hand, is a type of matter that doesn’t interact with light, making it invisible. This means it can’t be made of the usual particles like electrons, protons, and neutrons that make up stars, planets, moons, our bodies, and everything else we can see and touch.

The invisible dark universe is a big challenge for scientists. Dark energy is believed to make up about 68% of the universe, and dark matter about 27%. This means 95% of the universe is made of things we can’t see or fully understand, leaving only 5% made up of things scientists know about.

New Euclid Space Telescope’s Images Of Space

The Euclid space telescope is anticipated to explore some of the complexities of the dark universe. These new images are part of the telescope’s Early Release Observations, demonstrating that Euclid is capable of this task and may exceed scientists’ initial expectations.

“Euclid shows star-forming regions in unprecedented detail, uncovering 300,000 new objects in one shot, including free-floating planets four times Jupiter’s mass. During its mission, it will help us to understand our universe better, what it is made of, and how it has expanded and evolved over cosmic history,” said European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Josef Aschbacher in a broadcast from the agency’s Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) in Madrid.

Abell 2390

One of the images reveals Abell 2390. It is a massive cluster of galaxies similar to the Milky Way, situated about 2.7 billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus.

Abell 2390
Abell 2390, a giant cluster of Milky Way-like galaxies. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

This image showcases an astonishing 50,000 galaxies in remarkable detail and highlights the “intracluster light” emitted by stars in Abell 2390.

Intracluster light
“Intracluster light” that emanates from the stars in Abell 2390. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

“One of the things we see is these giant arcs here, these smooth arcs that are curved, those are actually very distant galaxies that have their shapes hugely distorted by the gravity of the dark matter in the cluster. And some of these arcs are even multiple images of the same very distant galaxy,” Jason Rhodes, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) commented on the next photo.

Abell 2764

And this set of images from Euclid also includes a view of another galaxy cluster, Abell 2764, which is located about 1 billion light-years from Earth in a densely packed region of space.

light from distant galaxies
Light from distant galaxies that is gravitationally “lensing” or deformed by dark matter located between the galaxies themselves and “Euclid”. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

“In this beautiful picture of Euclid, we see many interesting things. In particular, we see a massive galaxy cluster at the top right corner of the image. This cluster contains dozens of massive galaxies orbiting a dark matter halo,” said Hakim Atek from the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. 

Abell 2764
Abell 2764 galaxy cluster. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

This specific star is V* BP Phoenicis — it’s so bright in the night sky that it can nearly be seen with the naked eye.

V*BP-Phoenicis star
V*BP-Phoenicis star. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

The Dorado Group Of Galaxies

Another group of galaxies newly captured by Euclid is the Dorado Group of galaxies, located about 62 million light-years away. It is one of the most densely populated galaxy groups visible in the southern hemisphere.

In this image of the Dorado Group, the Euclid space telescope has captured an ongoing collision between two galaxies.

The Dorado group of galaxies
The Dorado group of galaxies. (Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

Other New Images By The Euclid Space Telescope

Other recent photos include the NGC 6744 galaxy, the NGC 6744 galaxy, and the Messier 78.

The spiral galaxy NGC 6744
The spiral galaxy NGC 6744. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
NGC 6744's disrupted spiral arm
NGC 6744’s disrupted spiral arm. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
Messier 78
Messier 78. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
A close-up of Messier 78 the densest part of the stellar nursery
A close-up of Messier 78 the densest part of the stellar nursery. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
A close up of the stellar nursery Messier 78
A close-up of the stellar nursery Messier 78. Image credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

What’s Next For The Euclid Space Telescope?

These images are part of Euclid’s Early Release Observations, representing just a small preview of what the Euclid space telescope will observe during its primary mission over the next six years. The first scientific findings from the telescope’s data have yet to be published. ESA has already announced that the next data release from Euclid is scheduled for March 2025.

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