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Euclid selected by ESA

05 October 2011

Euclid will visualize the invisible universe - The Netherlands builds the network to retrieve and process data

The European Space Agency ESA has selected space mission Euclid to map the mysterious dark matter and dark energy in the universe. The Netherlands will play an important role in the construction of the ground-segment of this space mission, which is to be launched in 2019.

The Euclid project will map the dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

Associated with the European mission are more than 110 institutes and over 800 scientists. The Netherlands has a leading role in the enstablishment of the Euclid Mission Archive (EMA) in which all scientists will (co)operate. It is a 'smart archive': a database and data processing system in one. Central facilities will be created in Groningen and with ESA-Madrid. EMA receives all data, not just that of the Euclid-satellite itself, but also that of the big ground-based surveys that this decade will focus on dark matter and dark energy, including the Dutch-led KiDS survey, the Dark Energy Survey and Pan-STARRS. All results derived from the stream of data remain within the system, so that it becomes a sum total of ever more valuable information.

The creation of such a 'smart archive' is an enormous challenge according to Edwin Valentijn (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/Target). "It concerns a gigantic volume of complex data, not just of Euclid itself, but also of the other cosmology surveys which can be viewed as a prelude to Euclid."

Euclid is an optical/near-infrared telescope, which will map the shape and distribution of several hundreds of millions of galaxies in order to expand our knowledge about the nature of the unkown dark matter and dark energy that comprise more than 70% resp. 25% of the universe. Dark energy is deemed responsible for the increasing expansion-rate of the universe. By measuring the shape and distribution of these galaxies, Euclid will be able to determine the nature of dark energy and whether the theory of relativity remains valid at a distance of billions of lightyears. The satellite is equipped with an optical camera (VIS) and a near-infrared spectrometer (NISP).

Euclid will provide large-scale observations at unprecedented precision. "This makes the telescope a kind of 'all-sky Hubble', says Huub Röttgering (Sterrewacht Leiden). Bringing the results of Euclid and its predecessors on the ground together offers unprecedented opportunities for new astronomical research. "The 'legacy value' of the Euclid mission is enormous: ranging from exoplanets to the earliest universe", adds Gijs Verdoes Kleijn (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/Target).

More information

Euclid-consortium: The Euclid Mission-Consortium is led by Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Romania, Spain, Great Britain, with a contribution from laboritories in the United States.

Target: The expertisecenter Target conducts R&D in the area of large-scale data processing and operation of sensorsystems. Prominent scientific researchgroups from North-Netherlands and innovative business develop and improve together complex and scalable datasystems. Target is a cooperation of the national astronomical datacenter OmegaCEN, ASTRON, IBM, Oracle, University Medical Center Groningen, Artificial Intelligence RUG, Donald Smits Center for Information Technology RUG, Nspyre, Heeii, and Target Holding.

The Netherlands has a leading role in the processing of the data of the near-infrared camera. Together with Italian collegues astronomers from Leiden will carefully calibrate this unique data, so it can be optimally exploited for a wide range of scientific projects. In the scientific analysis as well, The Netherlands will play an important role. Scientists from Leiden lead part of the cosmological research, the primary goal of Euclid, and coordinate the 'legacy science'. The Dutch parties associated with Euclid: the Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie (NOVA), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, SRON, Target, en Universiteit Leiden.

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.27 p.m.
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