Sunday, February 25

Euclid Space Telescope Will Launch On July 1st

The Euclid space telescope is scheduled to be launched on July 1, 2023, with a backup launch date of July 2, 2023. The launch is planned for 18:11 Finnish time at the earliest.

Euclid has an ambitious goal that would take much longer for older telescopes like Hubble or Webb to achieve. In just six years, it aims to accomplish what would typically take those telescopes over a century. The primary objective of Euclid is to tackle the mystery of dark energy, which refers to the phenomenon of the universe’s expansion accelerating.

Euclid’s mission is crucial in unraveling two of the universe’s most perplexing yet significant phenomena: dark matter and dark energy. Professor Hannu Kurki-Suonio from the University of Helsinki explains that these invisible forces have a profound impact on the movements of galaxies and the overall expansion of the universe. Despite their invisibility, dark matter and dark energy constitute approximately 95% of the universe.

By generating a three-dimensional map of the universe, Euclid will provide invaluable insights. This map will encompass billions of galaxies and span a distance of up to 10 billion light years, covering over one third of the observable space. The farther away a galaxy is, the deeper into the past we can glimpse, potentially reaching as far back as 10 billion years ago.

The selected region of space for mapping purposes avoids the Milky Way’s plane and our own solar system, ensuring the clearest observation of the most distant galaxies. Euclid will also study the gravitational lens effect, examining how dark matter’s gravitational force bends the path of light, thus distorting our perception of faraway galaxies. This investigation will enable us to map the distribution of dark matter throughout the universe.

The three-dimensional map produced by Euclid will contribute significantly to our understanding of the universe’s expansion and the formation of large-scale structures, such as galaxies, throughout cosmic history. These findings hinge on comprehending the characteristics of dark matter and dark energy.

Euclid will be launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ultimately positioning itself 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth. This vast distance ensures minimal interference during observations. The telescope on Euclid boasts a diameter of 1.2 meters and is equipped with two instruments: one for capturing high-resolution images in visible light and the other for obtaining spectra and images in infrared.