Today were officially released the first images from the European probe Euclid, which is observing the Universe one and a half million kilometres from the Earth, were officially released.

‘Switching on’ a space instrument is a unique experience especially when ‘mesmerizing images’ appear.
The photographs still need minimal fine-tuning of the system but Euclid, once fully calibrated, will observe billions of #galaxies to create the largest #3D map of the sky ever seen before.

OHB Italia S.p.A. as industrial partner was involved in developing the heart of the electronic units of the core instruments: the VIS and the NISP.

The Euclid VISible (#VIS) will take pictures of billions of galaxies to measure their #shapes. The first image in #visibilelight on the left shows the capability of the VIS camera: while some galaxies are very easy to spot, many others are hidden among the stars, waiting to be revealed by Euclid in the near future.

The #NISP (Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer) instrument has a dual role: taking galaxies in #infraredlight (centered photo) and measuring the amount of light that galaxies emit at various wavelengths (picture on the right). To achieve this second goal the instrument is equipped with a series of #prisms (assembled in a grism wheel) which breaks down the light from stars and galaxies into its different wavelengths, creating a series of #spectra (the vertical stripes visible in this image). From the spectrum of a galaxy, important information about its type and distance can be extracted.

The combined information received will lead to a better understanding of #darkmatter (which interacts gravitationally with ordinary matter) and #darkenergy (which causes the current acceleration of the expansion of the Universe).

In the upcoming months, European Space Agency – ESA will continue to carry out all the necessary tests and checks to ensure that the Euclid could operate as well as possible. At the end of this ‘commissioning phase’, the real science will begin…

Photos credits:
First VIs Image on visible light – ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IG)
Second Nisp image on infrared light – ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IG
Third Nisp image on spectra observations – ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IG
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana INAF – Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica INFN #darkuniverse