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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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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Measuring the Universe with Baryon Acoustic Oscillations

Hidden in the large-scale structure of the Universe – the so-called cosmic web, subtle waves provide a priceless view on the cosmos, helping scientists highlight some of the mysteries about its structure, evolution, and its current accelerated expansion governed by dark energy. This phenomenon is known as Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAOs). To understand what they are, we must travel back in time to the early Universe! Are you ready?

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