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ESA's Euclid space telescope is designed to map dark matter and dark energy across the universe. But as it is getting started, Euclid is also sending back gorgeous cosmic snapshots.

https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Euclid/ESA_s_Euclid_celebrates_first_science_with_sparkling_cosmic_views

Euclid’s image of galaxy cluster Abell 2390 reveals more than 50 000 galaxies and shows a beautiful display of gravitational lensing, depicting giant curved arcs on the sky – some of which are actually multiple views of the same distant object. Euclid will use lensing (where the light travelling to us from distant galaxies is bent and distorted by gravity) as a key technique for exploring the dark Universe, indirectly measuring the amount and distribution of dark matter both in galaxy clusters and elsewhere. Euclid scientists are also studying how the masses and numbers of galaxy clusters on the sky have changed over time, revealing more about the history and evolution of the Universe.
Here, Euclid captures galaxies evolving and merging ‘in action’ in the Dorado galaxy group, with beautiful tidal tails and shells seen as a result of ongoing interactions. Scientists are using this dataset to study how galaxies evolve, to improve our models of cosmic history and understand how galaxies form within halos of dark matter. This image showcases Euclid’s versatility: a wide array of galaxies is visible here, from very bright to very faint. Thanks to Euclid’s unique combination of large field-of-view, remarkable depth, and high spatial resolution, it can capture tiny (star clusters), wider (galaxy cores) and extended (tidal tails) features all in one frame. Scientists are also seeking distant individual clusters of stars known as globular clusters to trace their galactic history and dynamics.
In this image Euclid showcases NGC 6744, an archetype of the kind of galaxy currently forming most of the stars in the local Universe. Euclid’s large field-of-view covers the entire galaxy, capturing not only spiral structure on larger scales but also exquisite detail on small spatial scales. This includes feather-like lanes of dust emerging as ‘spurs’ from the spiral arms, shown here with incredible clarity. Scientists are using this dataset to understand how dust and gas are linked to star formation; map how different star populations are distributed throughout galaxies and where stars are currently forming; and unravel the physics behind the structure of spiral galaxies, something that is still not fully understood after decades of study.

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