Euclid telescope to explore dark energy and dark matter like never before

The mission will launch on July 1.
Loukia Papadopoulos
An illustration of the Euclid telescope.jpg
An illustration of the Euclid telescope.


The Euclid mission is getting ready to explore the universe’s two most mysterious phenomena: the invisible dark energy and dark matter. The Euclid telescope will be launched in just a few weeks and space experts are already excited.

This is according to a report by The Guardian published on Sunday.

“We cannot say we understand the universe if the nature of these dark components remains a mystery,” said astrophysicist Prof Andy Taylor of Edinburgh University. “That is why Euclid is so important.”

On July 1 of this year, Euclid will begin its exciting journey taking a month to cross the solar system to its destination 150 million km from Earth at a position known as the second Lagrange point where it will be able to investigate dark energy and dark matter.

“Euclid has the resolving power of the Hubble space telescope but will be able to survey a third of the night sky at the same time, so it will give us an incredibly detailed map of the heavens,” the astronomer Stephen Wilkins, of Sussex University, told The Guardian.

Since dark matter cannot be seen directly, Euclid will exploit a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing by taking millions of images of galaxies that showcase light passing through them and their gravitational field stretching.

“Gravitational lensing produced by dark matter will tell us a great deal about what it is made of,” said Prof Mathilde Jouzac of Durham University. “It may be that dark matter is made up of light particles. If so, they will produce one kind of lensing. On the other hand, if dark matter is made of very large particles, that will produce a different set of lensing. This information will then help direct the search for dark matter particles on Earth.”

The new telescope will also be able to investigate dark energy.

“We will use Euclid to measure it in a different way,” Wilkins added. “We will peer further into the universe and further back in time and study how big it looks at different periods. In that way we can actually work out how the size of our universe is changing over time and understand when changes in its expansion rate occur.”

The scientists hope the tool will be able to trace back how the universe has expanded over the past 10 billion years.

“The point of Euclid is really to get the data that will allow us to start discriminating between which of the different ideas we have about the dark universe,” told The Guardian Taylor. “Hopefully that will help us understand what fundamentally is really going on in the cosmos around us.”

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