Author name: Knud Jahnke

Instrument Scientist for Euclid's NISP Photometry channel since 2011 from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. Euclid Consortium Blog author and website content curator as part of the EC-EPO group. Likes galaxies and black holes.

Cutout of throughput change when warming up mirror during first Euclid decontamination campaign.

Euclid successfully de-iced, gains 15% sensitivity

Every space mission starts on Earth, in humid air and warm temperatures. After launch all satellites are then exposed to the vacuum of space, all air just rushes out, and everything cools down fast, to freezing temperatures of -150°C in the case of the Euclid space telescope. Once in space all that is left is the metal and Silicon Carbide and other materials that the instruments are made of. And a bit of water – which has consequences if it ends up as a thin layer on mirrors or lenses. Euclid just successfully removed ice and gained 15% of light transmission.

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Aurora over Edinburgh, 2023-09, photo by Gordon Gibb

Space weather

Euclid is a space mission, for a very good reason: on the surface of Earth, “ground-based” telescopes are subject to sunlight during the day, varying temperatures, to clouds, humidity, wind, and sometimes even rain. They are subject to a constantly varying atmosphere – the consequences of ‘weather’. Euclid’s core science, cosmology, however, requires a telescope with very stable properties – not possible in ground-based weather – so Euclid had to go to space. In contrast, is the Sun-Earth-Lagrange-Point-2, where Euclid is now stationed, the most perfectly stable place? Well, not completely. We’ll tell you why.

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What’s in Euclid’s First Light images?

Euclid’s “First Light” engineering images show a lot of things. There are obviously some astronomical objects, but also some stranger features that are not. The reason is that these images are “raw”, they have not been digitally treated the ways as needs to be done to create science-ready images. They contain a lot of features that are properties of the detectors used, but also unwanted internal reflections of the optics, as well as cosmic rays that hit all space telescopes. Converting these images into science-ready data is the task of the Euclid Science Ground Segment, which has developed a huge and very detailed data treatment (“data reduction”) pipeline over many years.

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Euclid rendering

The Euclid Consortium Blog: going public

Euclid is a space mission in the making. We are the consortium of more than 2500 scientists and engineers partnering with ESA, to build the so far most powerful telescope for studying the nature of Dark Energy, Dark Matter and cosmology in general. We have been designing and constructing the two instruments on-board Euclid, are obtaining complementary ground-based data, develop the data analysis system, as well as simulate, test, iterate and improve all of the above again and again.

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