The Euclid space telescope, designed to probe some of the universe’s biggest mysteries, has caught the first glimpse of the universe, reports CNN. Two of the spacecraft’s instruments took preliminary test images showing views of the bright stars. In a statement, Euclid project manager at the European Space Agency, Giuseppe Rakka, said: “After more than 11 years of designing and developing Euclid, it is both encouraging and extremely emotional to see these first images.”
“It is even more incredible when we consider that we see only a few galaxies here, formed with minimal system tuning. A perfectly calibrated Euclid will eventually observe billions of galaxies to create the largest 3D map of the sky ever made,” Racka said according to CNN. The European Space Agency’s newest observatory, Euclid, has spent the past month travelling to its orbital point 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometres) from Earth since its launch on July 1.
The 4-foot-diameter (1.2-meter-diameter) telescope is located at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point known as L2, which is also home to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. According to CNN, Euclid will keep pace with Earth as our planet orbits the Sun. Scientists are already encouraged by the capabilities demonstrated by Euclid’s initial images, which indicate the telescope may exceed expectations. ESA Director-General Joseph Eschbacher said in a statement: “It is fantastic to see the latest addition to ESA’s fleet of science missions which are already performing so well. The team behind the mission will continue to use Euclid and Will be able to reveal so much about 95% of the universe about which we currently know very little.