Structural display of amorphous ice

Euclid de-icing campaign #2

As we have described before, there is humidity – water – in every spacecraft. And this humidity will turn to ice in the cold and vacuum of space. Euclid is no exception to this. If this humidity collects on optical surfaces like mirrors, it will affect the optical performance of a space telescope. For this reason Euclid will undergo a second targeted de-icing process over the next days.

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First Early Release Observation science and reference paper release

Euclid survey operations have only started in February, and tuning the science data pipeline will take several more months. The first results from Euclid’s wide and deep main surveys will take until fall, first cosmology papers at least until late 2025.

However, before Euclid’s surveys started, the special ‘Early Release Observation’ (ERO) programme was initiated by ESA. A call was made to propose astronomical targets and connected science cases to showcase the capabilities of Euclid and its two instruments, VIS and NISP. A selection was done, 17 targets were observed in November and December 2023, and today, May 23rd, 2024, ESA and the Euclid Consortium has published the first ERO science results!

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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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Why is going to space crucial to map dark matter?

A key promise of the Euclid mission is to explore the evolution of the dark Universe. The foundation of this ambitious program is a large optical and near-infrared imaging survey. Euclid’s cosmic map will depict more than one billion galaxies out to 10 billion light-years, making it the biggest and most detailed cosmological data set of our age. How does the quality of the first Euclid images compare to another reference cosmological data set, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Legacy Imaging Survey?

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