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Euclid was launched; A pioneering telescope to reveal the dark world

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On Saturday at 18:41 Iran time, the $1.5 billion Euclid spacecraft was launched atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to begin its mission to map the history of the universe up to 10 billion years ago.

Euclid, built by the European Space Agency, will use its instruments to record more than one-third of the extragalactic space in the next 6 years, and will present the most accurate 3D map of the universe prepared so far.

Using Euclid’s map, the researchers plan to find out how dark matter and dark energy (mysterious phenomena that make up 95 percent of our universe) have affected what we see when we look at space and time.

Jason Rhodesa physicist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who leads the Euclid science team in America. He says, according to the New York Times: “Euclid arrived at a very interesting time in the history of cosmology.” Rhodes believes that Euclid is a very suitable telescope to answer the emerging questions of the current era and can even answer questions that have not occurred to scientists.

The European Space Agency’s new telescope was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. While still attached to the rocket’s upper stage, Euclid separated from the Falcon 9’s first stage booster three minutes after launch amid cheers from observers. The spacecraft entered a stable orbit around the Earth approximately 9 minutes after liftoff and nearly 40 minutes later, by separating from the upper stage, it began a journey of approximately one and a half million kilometers to the destination of deep space.

The Euclid telescope had no choice but to launch on top of an American rocket. The European Space Agency initially planned to send this spacecraft into space with the Russian Soyuz rocket or the new European Ariane 6 rocket; However, due to the termination of space relations between Europe and Russia after this country’s attack on Ukraine and the delay of the Ariane company in preparing Ariane 6, SpaceX was assigned to launch some European missions, including Euclid.

Europe’s new spacecraft will not be alone in looking at the cold space; But unlike the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes, which focus deeply on one part of the sky at a time, scientists will use Euclid to simultaneously cover large swathes of the extragalactic sky. In the three regions it will record, Euclid will go much deeper and depict the structure of the universe roughly a billion years after the Big Bang.

One of the targets of Euclid’s telescope is dark matter; The invisible glue of the universe that neither emits light nor absorbs or reflects it. Despite the efforts of physicists, dark matter has so far eluded direct detection; But scientists know that such matter exists from its gravitational effect on the way galaxies move.

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