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The first images from the ESA’s Euclid telescope are here

Published Aug 1st, 2023 8:25PM EDT
euclid, the ESA's dark matter hunting spacecraft
Image: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA. Background galaxies: NASA, ESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team

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The European Space Agency (ESA) recently launched the Euclid, a deep space telescope set to hunt for dark matter in our universe. The telescope launched at the beginning of July, and now after a month in space, it’s finally revealed several test images, which are absolutely breathtaking.

This moment is reminiscent of the excitement that I felt when I saw James Webb’s images for the first time — photographs that captured detail unlike anything we’d ever been able to capture before. With Euclid, the hunt for data is a bit different, and it is unlikely we’ll see images quite as colorful as those first Webb images, but that’s because it’s looking at things from a much broader standpoint. Still, there is a lot to be excited about here.

These first Euclid test images released by the ESA show that the telescope can capture a ton of detail as it peers deep into the universe. Secondly, the images here are just commission tests meant to show off what Euclid is capable of without capturing a specific target or even hunting for evidence of dark matter itself, something that the telescope will do later this year.

first test images for EuclidImage source: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

With these first images, we are simply getting a taste of what is possible with Euclid, and when combined with the plethora of data that we’re already receiving from spacecraft like the James Webb, the hunt for dark matter is really about to heat up quite a bit. As noted before, too, these are just test images, which means the first actual research images we see will probably sport even more detail.

That means that Euclid is already starting off with a really exciting turn of events. Over the next couple of months, the ESA will continue to situate Euclid in its orbit and then begin science operations, which will hopefully finally unravel the mystery of dark matter and the part that it plays in our universe.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.