Euclid Launches to Gain Insight into Dark Matter

Photo Credit: ESA

Launched by SpaceX at 11:12 am on July 1st, covering vast swaths of space’s extragalactic skies, is the Euclid telescope. The telescope, built by the ESA (European Space Agency), will be used to create a three dimensional map of the cosmos over the next six years. The map will be specifically used to study dark matter as well as dark energy.

Dark matter is called “dark” because it does not appear to absorb, reflect, or emit electromagnetic radiation and is, therefore, difficult to detect. Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates space and tends to cause the universe to expand by exerting a gravitational repulsion.

“Euclid is coming at a really interesting time in the history of cosmology,” said Jason Rhodes, a physicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who leads Euclid’s U.S. science team. “We are entering a time when Euclid is going to be great at answering questions that are just now emerging. And I am certain that Euclid is going to be fantastic for answering questions we haven’t even thought of.”

The ESA had planned to launch the spacecraft on either a Russian Soyuz rocket or their own Ariane 6 rocket but, due to tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as their own stifled progress, there were delays. The Spacecraft successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Watch the launch replay here.

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