Euclid reveals five new views of the universe

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New Euclid image of the star-forming region Messier 78. ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consor
New Euclid image of the star-forming region Messier 78. ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay, G. Anselmi. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi

These images allow scientists to search for wandering planets, study dark matter using lensed galaxies and explore the evolution of the universe. The Gravitation and Cosmology group of the Institute of Theoretical Physics IFT UAM-CSIC is a permanent member of the Euclid Consortium since 2011.

ESA’s Euclid mission has released five groundbreaking images that demonstrate the telescope’s potential to unlock cosmic mysteries. The images are part of Euclid’s Early Release Observations, which accompany the mission’s first scientific data and ten upcoming scientific papers. This valuable information comes less than a year after the telescope’s launch and about six months after its first color images.

Juan García-Bellido, researcher at the IFT and director of the Gravitation and Cosmology group that is part of Euclid, described this as a "new era" of cosmological observations: "We are entering a new era in which ground-based telescopes like DESI or Vera Rubin compete with satellites like Euclid or JWST in unraveling the greatest mysteries of cosmology: the origin of dark matter and dark energy".

"Within a couple of years we will have complete catalogs of the distribution of matter down to distances 80% the size of the universe, where the vast majority of galaxies inhabit," he adds.

"Euclid is a unique and innovative mission, and these are the first publicly available data sets, an important milestone," said Valeria Pettorino, ESA’s Euclid Project Scientist. "The diversity of objects and distances observed in these images is impressive. They represent only 24 hours of observations and provide an idea of Euclid’s capabilities. We look forward to six more years of data."

Early observations focused on 17 astronomical objects, ranging from nearby clouds of gas and dust to clusters of distant galaxies, prior to the main Euclid survey. This survey seeks to uncover the secrets of dark matter and dark energy and explain the current state of the universe.

"This telescope is designed to address the biggest open questions in cosmology," Valeria adds. "These initial observations demonstrate that Euclid is more than capable of achieving its goals."

Unprecedented Results

Euclid will map the hidden structures of the cosmos, catalog billions of galaxies over more than a third of the sky, study cosmic history, and explore dark energy and dark matter.

The images obtained by Euclid are at least four times sharper than those from ground-based telescopes. They cover large areas of the sky at unprecedented depths, looking into the distant universe in visible and infrared light.

"Euclid’s results are truly unprecedented," says ESA’s Director of Science, Prof. Carole Mundell. "Euclid’s first images, released in November, highlighted its vast potential for exploring the dark universe. This second batch is equally impressive.

"Euclid’s ability to cover large regions of the sky in detail and depth, capturing a variety of objects in a single image, from faint to bright, distant to nearby, massive galaxy clusters to small planets, is remarkable. This versatility has led to numerous new scientific results that, combined with future data from the survey, will significantly improve our understanding of the universe."

Although visually stunning, these images reveal new physical properties of the universe thanks to Euclid’s unique observational capabilities. These findings are detailed in companion papers published by the Euclid collaboration on arXiv, along with five key reference papers on the Euclid mission.

Initial findings highlight Euclid’s ability to search for wandering planets in star-forming regions, study the outer regions of stellar clusters in detail, and map stellar populations to explore galaxy evolution. The space telescope can detect individual star clusters in groups and clusters of distant galaxies, identify new dwarf galaxies, observe stars stripped of their parent galaxies, and much more.

In just one day, Euclid revealed more than 11 million objects in visible light and 5 million more in infrared light, resulting in significant new scientific insights.

"Euclid demonstrates European excellence in frontier science and cutting-edge technology, and highlights the importance of international collaboration," says ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher. "The mission is the result of many years of hard work by scientists, engineers and industry across Europe and beyond. The results are a testament to this ambitious mission and its complex science. Euclid is just beginning its exciting journey to map the structure of the universe."

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About Euclid

Euclid is a European mission, built and operated by ESA with contributions from NASA. The Euclid Consortium, composed of more than 2000 scientists from 300 institutes in 15 European countries, the United States, Canada and Japan, provides scientific instruments and data analysis. ESA selected Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor for the construction of the satellite and the service module, with Airbus Defence and Space developing the payload module, including the telescope. NASA provided the detectors for the Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP). Euclid is part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision Program.

The Euclid Consortium is a collaboration of scientists, engineers and decision makers funded by national research agencies, with responsibilities for defining the scientific objectives of the mission, providing the scientific instruments and data processing. The IFT Gravitation and Cosmology group has been a permanent member of the Euclid Consortium since 2011.


The IFT-UAM/CSIC is a joint center of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, devoted entirely to research in theoretical physics, with the focus on the most fundamental questions, from elementary particles to cosmology, passing through the frontier of quantum complexity. Its researchers lead numerous projects both nationally and internationally, supported by an intense activity of training young researchers and an original work of popularization of physics.