Bord Foren


Shimmering galaxies revealed in new photos by European space telescope

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists on Tuesday unveiled the first pictures taken by the European space telescope Euclid, a shimmering and stunning collection of galaxies too numerous to count.

The photos were revealed by the European Space Agency, four months after the telescope launched from Cape Canaveral.

Although these celestial landscapes have been observed before by the Hubble Space Telescope and others, Euclid’s snapshots provide “razor-sharp astronomical images across such a large patch of the sky, and looking so far into the distant universe,” the agency said.

In one picture, Euclid captured a group shot of 1,000 galaxies in a cluster 240 million light-years away, against a backdrop of more than 100,000 galaxies billions of light-years away. A light-year is 5.8 trillion miles.

Related stories
This annotated image provided by NASA on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, shows a composite view of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and James Webb Space Telescope indicating a growing black hole just 470 million years after the big bang. It is the oldest black hole yet discovered. (NASA via AP)Oldest black hole discovered dating back to 470 million years after the Big BangThis June 2023 image provided by the Space Telescope Science Institute shows the planet Saturn and three of its moons, from left, Enceladus, Tethys and Dione, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. In infrared, the planet appears dark because sunlight is absorbed by methane in the atmosphere. (NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST Saturn Team via AP)Saturn’s rings are glowing in Webb Space Telescope’s latest cosmic shotIn this image released by NASA, Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope onboard, lifts off  Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, at Europe's Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.  The $10 billion infrared observatory is intended as the successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope.  (NASA via AP)Space telescope launched on daring quest to behold 1st stars

“Dazzling,” said the space agency’s science director, Carole Mundell, as she showed off the galaxy cluster shot on a large screen at the control center in Germany.

Euclid’s instruments are sensitive enough to pick up the smallest galaxies, which were too faint to see until now. The results are “crystal-clear and stunning images going back in cosmic time,” Mundell said.

The telescope snapped pictures of a relatively close spiral galaxy that is a ringer for our own Milky Way. Although the Hubble Space Telescope previously observed the heart of this galaxy, Euclid’s shot reveals star formation across the entire region, scientists said.

READ:   Right turn on red? With pedestrian deaths rising, US cities are considering bans

Euclid also took fresh photos of the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion, a dramatic nursery of baby stars made famous by Hubble. It took Euclid just an hour to capture the nebula’s latest beauty shot; the five new photos accounted for less than a day of observing time.

By measuring the shape and movement of galaxies as far as 10 billion light-years away, astronomers hope to learn more about the dark energy and matter that make up 95% of the universe.

The observatory will survey billions of galaxies over the next six years, creating the most comprehensive 3D map of the cosmos ever made. NASA is a partner in the $1.5 billion mission and supplied the telescope’s infrared detectors.

Launched in July, Euclid orbits the sun some 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth. The telescope is named after the mathematician of ancient Greece.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.