Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Frost is blurring the telescope's vision space Euclid

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The Euclid Space Telescope. (Artistic illustration)

Agence France-Presse

Engineers from the European Space Agency (ESA) have begun operations to try to eliminate a invasive frost which blurs the vision of the Euclid space telescope, a true “detective of the dark Universe”.

This is the latest technical problem for this six-year mission, launched in July 2023 to map the stars and galaxies covering a third of the observable sky.

With this mission, scientists hope to learn more about the nature of dark energy and dark matter, two entities never before observed and believed to constitute 95% of the Universe.

As early as last November, ground teams noticed that a telescope instrument, which produces images in visible light, was receiving less light than expected, an AFP operations manager explained to AFP. ;instrument, Ralf Kohley.

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The Horsehead Nebula in the eye of the Euclid telescope.

ESA thinks this big problem, according to the scientist, comes from a thin layer of ice, the thickness of a strand of DNA , which accumulates on the imager optics.

All instruments sent into space carry with them minute quantities of water vapor, which freeze in the cold of space. Shortly after Euclid's launch, scientists activated onboard heaters, which were supposed to heat the telescope to rid it of possible traces of water.

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This operation could be renewed, but it is not without its drawbacks. Heating everything will disrupt the mission a lot, explains Ralf Kohley. The heat, by expanding the materials, would require a recalibration of the entire telescope for at least a month.

This is why the #x27;ESA began heating last week of two of the telescope's three mirrors. Scheduled until next Thursday, its result will not be known before mid-April, according to Mr. Kohley.

In the event of ;failure there will remain the solution of heating the entire Euclid telescope.

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