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New Euclid satellite Science Data Center at RUG receives major funding

20 December 2012
An artist's impression of Euclid. Image Credit: ESA
An artist's impression of Euclid. Image Credit: ESA

A collaboration between the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA), Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), the Leiden Observatory, Target, RUG’s Center for Information Technology (CIT) and OmegaCEN/Kapteyn Institute from the RUG have decided to found a new space research data-handling center at the University of Groningen. The Science Data Center will support the Euclid mission, recently selected by ESA. The Euclid satellite will map a large part of the sky from space by means of enormously detailed optical and near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy. These data will be used to obtain in exquisite detail the properties of billions of galaxies over a major part of the history of the expanding Universe. This will test Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and will help to solve one of the outstanding mysteries in current physics and cosmology: the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

The project, which is now funded until 2019, requires about 6.5 million euros for human resources, for which a total of 4 million has now been granted by NOVA, SRON and RUG. The rest is being brought in by the participating research groups.

At the RUG’s Center for Information Technology the Euclid Science Data Center (SDC) will use Target’s computational hardware park and will involve the staff of the Target Expertise Center. The SDC will build, in partnership with ESA the Euclid Mission Archive, applying the Astro-WISE technology developed by OmegaCEN and Target. The Euclid Mission Archive is an innovative distributed information system which will serve 1000 researchers spread over Europe, also during the preparation phase of the mission, scheduled for launch in 2020.

The SDC will also host Petabytes of data from ground-based telescopes, including the Dutch-led KiDS imaging survey which uses the OmegaCAM camera at ESO’s VST telescope in Paranal, Chile. KiDS data and other ground-based surveys will be used to measure distances to galaxies, a key ingredient to map the evolution of dark matter and dark energy over time.

The Leiden Observatory is involved in building a near- infrared data reduction pipeline, which will also be operated at the SDC.

Euclid is a Big Data project with more than ten Petabytes of observational data and catalogues, which eventually will contain detailed information on two billion galaxies. This is an important spin-off of the Target project, funded by the Samenwerkingsverband Noord Nederland (SNN), European Fund for Regional Development, Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (Pieken in de Delta), and the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. This project will also enable the expertise center at the CIT and OmegaCEN to continue their mission until 2019. “A great development and opportunity for the RUG and the North of the Netherlands”, says the Target lead prof. Edwin Valentijn.

Following this funding decision NOVA will sign the Multi-Lateral Agreement between member states and ESA, which will give Dutch scientists the right to participate in the mission and to be involved early on in research and publications.


The Euclid Consortium (EC) is a collaboration of over 1000 scientists from over 100 institutions in Europe and beyond. The EC has been selected by ESA to build the VIS and NISP instruments for Euclid, as well as construct the Science Ground Segment (SGS) and Science Data Centers (SDC) required to reduce data from these instruments and deliver science results. The EC is funded via the national funding agencies as well as host institutions. The EC website is


Euclid Mission (ESA)

Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA)

Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON)

Leiden Observatory






Edwin A. Valentijn, Target Coordinator/ OmegaCEN / Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen                                                          
Tel: +31 (0)50 3634011        

Gijs Verdoes Kleijn, Target / OmegaCEN / Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen
Tel: 0654658050 / 050-3638326

Rees Williams, Target Scientific Manager, Donald Smits Center for Information Technology, University of Groningen
Tel: +31 (0)50 3639719

Last modified:02 October 2015 10.56 p.m.

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