The first images taken by Europe’s Euclid space telescope show “circumstantial evidence” of elusive dark matter.

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Euclid was launched this past July on the world’s first mission to explore the unparalleled cosmic mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

It will produce the most accurate map of the universe <>D ever made, in part by mapping one-third of the sky – including an incredible 300 million galaxies.

After rendezvousing with space telescope James Webb at a stable hovering point about 10,000 kilometers (more than 50,000 miles) from Earth, Euclid began sending back its first observations.

The first five images were released at a press conference at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany.

They include a spectacular shot of the nearby Horsehead Nebula, as well as spiral and “irregular” galaxies.

But Euclid project scientist Rene Laureijs told AFP that the team’s most exciting image was of the Perseus Cluster, a collection of more than a thousand distant galaxies.

According to ESA, more than a million more galaxies lurk in the background of the cluster, some of which are 100 billion light-years from Earth and have never been seen before.

ESA has dubbed “Euclid” the “Dark Universe Detective,” charged with investigating why 95 percent of the universe seems to be made up of dark matter and dark energy, of which we know very little.

According to Laureys, Euclid’s early images have pointed to “circumstantial evidence” of dark matter.

For example, he said it was “surprising” that Euclid didn’t find stars in the globular cluster NGC 6397, which consists of hundreds of thousands of stars.

“One of the theories is that there may be dark matter around globular clusters that holds all the stars together,” Laureijs said.

By capturing light that takes 1 billion years to reach the Earth’s neighborhood, Euclid also hopes to better understand how dark energy has driven the expansion of the universe since the Big Bang 1.3 billion years ago.

Once Euclid collects enough data, the scientists plan to create a three-dimensional map – the third dimension being time.

The first images taken by Europe’s Euclid space telescope show “circumstantial evidence” of elusive dark matter.

Laureys says the map will allow people to “walk across a part of the sky and go back a billion years.”

But that will have to wait for future releases of data from the planned six-year mission.

Despite these “engineering challenges,” Mondale claims that the mission has achieved all of its initial milestones and can now focus on scientific research.

Here’s a brief description of the first images released by the Euclid telescope:

Horsehead Nebula: This is an active nebula about 1,600 light-years from Earth. It’s called the “Horsehead” because it looks like a horse’s head.
Spiral Galaxy: This is a spiral galaxy about 10 million light-years from Earth. It is a close neighbor of the Milky Way and one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe.
Irregular Galaxy: This is an irregular galaxy about 1 billion light-years from Earth. It has no spiral arms, but many bright stars and clusters.
Perseus Cluster: This is a cluster of galaxies about 200 million light-years from Earth. It consists of thousands of galaxies and is one of the largest objects in the Universe.
The first images taken by the Euclid telescope show that it promises major breakthroughs that will help us better understand the universe.

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