September 22, 2023


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Europe sends the Euclid Space Telescope into space

Europe sends the Euclid Space Telescope into space

Status: 01/07/2023 3:01 PM

It is responsible for the structure of the Universe, the Milky Way and other galaxies: dark matter. It makes up a quarter of the entire universe. The problem: it’s not visible. The Euclid Space Telescope is set to change that.

Written by Guido Meyer, NDR

Europe’s latest flagship project to explore the universe costs 1.5 billion euros. The Euclid Space Telescope, which is scheduled to go into space on July 1, is all about the big picture. The question is eerily simple: What is the world made of?

First of all, from energy and matter. But there is also what we cannot see. “We know that some of this matter is not luminous,” says Markus Kessler-Pateig, chief of science and operations at ESA. “That’s why we call it dark matter.”

The unknown force

And that’s where the problems begin: Because dark matter doesn’t glow, it’s invisible. Unfortunately, a quarter of the entire universe is made up of this dark matter. “There is a force in the universe that has nothing to do with the physics we know here on Earth,” says Kessler-Batij.

This is where Euclid comes in. The new European Space Telescope aims to explore the orbits on which visible and luminous matter moves through space. Because these motions are determined by the mass and thus the gravity of the invisible dark matter. There are about six times more than what we are used to. Thus, dark matter is responsible for the structure of the universe and for everything humans can see: the Milky Way, other galaxies and galaxy clusters.

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eternal expansion

There is also the problem of dark energy. “We know that some kind of negative energy counteracts gravity because it pushes the universe apart instead of holding it together,” said Kessler-Batij.

This dark energy was discovered only at the end of the last millennium. The fact that the Big Bang happened 14 billion years ago and the universe has been expanding ever since – that was the standard model in cosmology until then. But in the late 1990s, astronomers noticed that space was expanding faster. To this day no one can explain it.

The European Space Agency’s Euclid probe is in the clean room at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes. With the Euclid mission, the European Space Agency wants to learn more about dark matter and dark energy.

Both dark forces, Euclid. You can not watch directly. But the rotation of the galaxies indirectly reveals something about the invisible dark matter that must be inside them and that holds them together. Because otherwise they will fly away.

Galaxies that do not exist

The dark matter’s gravity also distorts the light from the galaxies beyond. This creates a mirage in space. The observer on Earth is presented with a galaxy as there is no galaxy at all.

Euclid It’s a sky survey that we want to do for six years,” Kessler-Batej explains. We want to observe a total of one-third of the entire universe, which should then provide us with enough data to understand dark matter and dark energy. ”

Telescope in Libra

In order not to be completely disturbed by the sunlight and also the light reflected by the Earth and the Moon, it becomes Euclid Establishment of the observation center in space 1.5 billion kilometers away. There is a balance of gravitational forces of the sun, earth and moon, so that the telescope remains stationary in space.

And so astronomers in Europe hope that their new telescope will finally answer the question already asked by Goethe’s Faust, what binds the world together at its core – and that according to EuclidSystem Architect Tobias Bonke, well invested money. For 1.4 billion we have a lot here.