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Euclid's First Images

The first test images of stars and galaxies taken by the European Space Agency's Euclid Space Telescope were released yesterday. The milestone comes about a month after Euclid launched, reaching its final orbit roughly 1 million miles away from Earth, or four times as far from Earth as the moon. See the images here.

Euclid is on a quest to survey more than 1 billion galaxies—each with roughly 100 billion stars—as it investigates the nature of dark energy and dark matter, which constitute 95% of the universe but remain poorly understood. The term “dark” refers to the properties known about each—dark matter exerts a gravitational pull on objects but doesn’t interact with light, while dark energy remains hypothetical and is needed to account for the expansion of the universe.

The test images were taken to verify and review the operation of the instruments on the Euclid spacecraft. The images are largely unprocessed, meaning they contain unwanted distortions, such as cosmic rays that streak across the captured visual. More detailed and sharper images are expected in October.

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