Euclid successfully launched into space by Falcon 9 rocket

In three months, the tool will begin a six year exploration of dark energy and dark matter.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The Euclid launch.jpg
The Euclid launch.


Dark energy and dark matter discovery tool Euclid successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA, at 11:11 local time / 16:11 BST / 17:11 CEST on Saturday 1 July 2023. The first stage proceeded to return to Earth to be recaptured and reused at later flights.

Euclid had a long journey. “Between 23 and 28 June, Euclid was mounted atop the Falcon 9 adaptor, encapsulated in the rocket fairing, and transported to the Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40),” wrote ESA in a statement.

“Euclid's destination is the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2, an equilibrium point of the Sun-Earth system. Located in the opposite direction of the Sun at 1.5 million km from Earth (about four times the Earth-Moon distance), this is an ideal place for space telescopes aimed at astronomical observations.”

It will take about a month for Euclid to reach the insertion point of its wide orbit around L2. Once there, the tool will begin two months of testing and calibration and preparing for the routine observations. 

This will get Euclid ready to start its task of surveying one third of the sky with unprecedented accuracy and sensitivity. This period will last a whopping six years.

“The Euclid’s mission is to uncover two mysterious components of our Universe: dark matter and dark energy. Understanding the role of these enigmatic entities will help us answer the fundamental question: what is the Universe made of?” further stated ESA.

“Equipped with an advanced telescope and innovative optical and near-infrared scientific instrumentation, Euclid will observe billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years to create the largest, most accurate 3D map of the Universe.”

The hope is that the tool will produce an extensive and detailed chart of the extragalactic sky. Some of the long-standing mysteries that may then be answered are how matter is distributed across immense distances and how the expansion of the Universe has evolved over time.

Currently we only understand about 5 percent of the universe. Dark energy and dark matter remain a mystery and that is exactly what Euclid is set to discovery.

Euclid is set to reveal its final cosmology answers at the end of the six year period but data will also be analyzed and shared along that time period.

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