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Euclid space telescope captures stunning images of far-off galaxies

This image is released as part of the Early Release Observations from ESA’s Euclid space mission. All data from these initial observations are made public on 23 May 2024 – including a handful of unprecedented new views of the nearby Universe, this being one. This breathtaking image features Messier 78 (the central and brightest region), a vibrant nursery of star formation enveloped in a shroud of interstellar dust. This image is unprecedented – it is the first shot of this young star-forming region at this width and depth.
This image is released as part of the Early Release Observations from ESA’s Euclid space mission. This breathtaking image features Messier 78 (the central and brightest region), a vibrant nursery of star formation enveloped in a shroud of interstellar dust. This image is unprecedented, as it is the first shot of this young star-forming region at this width and depth. ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi

New images from the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Euclid telescope show a gorgeous range of cosmic objects, from bustling stellar nurseries to enormous galaxy clusters. The first science data from the telescope has also been released, showing how the telescope will contribute to the study of dark matter and dark energy.

The telescope recently had an issue with tiny amounts of ice building up on one of its mirrors, but that was cleared away in a de-icing procedure and now the telescope is back to full science operations. The new science papers recently released are part of an early release program, representing just 24 hours’ worth of observations from the telescope.

“Euclid is a unique, ground-breaking mission, and these are the first datasets to be made public — it’s an important milestone,” said Valeria Pettorino, ESA’s Euclid Project Scientist, in a statement. “The images and associated science findings are impressively diverse in terms of the objects and distances observed. They include a variety of science applications, and yet represent a mere 24 hours of observations. They give just a hint of what Euclid can do. We are looking forward to six more years of data to come!”

Today, ESA’s Euclid space mission releases five unprecedented new views of the Universe, each revealing amazing new science. The never-before-seen images prove Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos, enabling scientists to hunt for rogue planets, use lensed galaxies to study mysterious matter, and explore the evolution of the Universe. The five targets shown here are (clockwise from top left) the Dorado Group, Messier 78, NGC 6744, Abell 2764, and Abell 2390.
Five unprecedented new views of the Universe, each revealing amazing new science. The never-before-seen images prove Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos, enabling scientists to hunt for rogue planets, use lensed galaxies to study mysterious matter, and explore the evolution of the Universe. The five targets shown here are (clockwise from top left) the Dorado Group, Messier 78, NGC 6744, Abell 2764, and Abell 2390. ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi

The images, shown above, include a group of galaxies called the Dorado group, a stellar nursery called Messier 78, the picture-perfect spiral galaxy NCG 6744, and two galaxy clusters called Anell 2764 and Abell 2390. You can see huge high-resolution versions of each image on ESA’s website.

The images show the variety of objects that Euclid will be able to capture thanks to its very high resolution. Euclid operates in both the optical and infrared wavelengths, allowing it to capture different types of objects as it looks with a very wide field of view. That helps with its main mission to study dark matter and dark energy by observing detailed images of distant galaxies.

“This space telescope intends to tackle the biggest open questions in cosmology,” Pettorino said. “And these early observations clearly demonstrate that Euclid is more than up to the task.”

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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