MessageToEagle.com - To be launched in 2020, Euclid's 1.2 m-diameter telescope and two scientific instruments will map the shape,
brightness and 3D distribution of two billion galaxies covering more than a third of the whole sky and looking
back over three-quarters of the history of the Universe.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected three NASA-nominated science teams to participate in their planned
Euclid mission, including one led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Md.
The Euclid spacecraft, shown in this artist's impression, is scheduled to launch in 2020. Credit: ESA/C. Carreau
The Goddard team, led by Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist with Science Systems and Applications, Inc., in
Lanham, Md., will use Euclid imaging data to explore the cosmic infrared background (CIB), the collective
light emitted throughout cosmic history by all sources, including those that cannot be detected directly.
Kashlinsky will be joined by Harvey Moseley of Goddard and Richard Arendt of the University of Maryland Baltimore
County. All three work in the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology at Goddard.
According to theoretical models, the early universe was dark and featureless until the first stars formed. When these
stars died, they exploded as supernovae or collapsed into black holes, initiating changes that culminated in the
diverse and complex cosmos we observe around us today. Each modification left its imprint in the CIB.
The project, named LIBRAE (Looking at Infrared Background Radiation Anisotropies with Euclid), will provide insight
into stellar and galactic populations in the early universe that are unobtainable by other means.
"With LIBRAE, we hope to probe the distribution of early CIB source populations with high precision at scales as
small as one arcminute to tens of degrees," Kashlinsky explained.
"In addition, we will identify the cosmic times
where these populations existed and determine what portion of the CIB was generated by stars and what fraction was
produced by black holes."
Other members include Volker Bromm at the University of Texas in Austin, Matthew Ashby at the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., and GŁnther Hasinger at the Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu. Three
European collaborators currently round out the international LIBRAE team.
Click on image to enlarge
Scientists from the LIBRAE team acquired an early glimpse of the cosmic infrared background (CIB) using
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope as a proof of concept. These panels, about 1 degree across, show the same region
in the constellation BoŲtes. Top: Spitzer's initial infrared view, including foreground stars and fainter galaxies,
seen at a wavelength of 4.5 microns. Bottom: Masking out all of the resolved stars and galaxies (grey) reveals the
CIB, which is smoothed and enhanced in this view. The known remaining galaxy populations cannot account for the
large-scale structure seen in the CIB. LIBRAE will identify the nature and epochs of the new populations responsible
for this structure. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC
"Euclid's visible and infrared all-sky survey is perfectly suited to the LIBRAE studies of the early universe. We
are very pleased to be joining the excellent team that has developed this mission," Moseley said.
The other two U.S. science teams are led by Ranga-Ram Chary of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., and Jason Rhodes of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
also in Pasadena.
Euclid will observe up to two billion galaxies occupying more than one-third of the sky with the goal of better
understanding the contents of our universe.
The matter we interact with every day -- tables, chairs, people, Earth -- makes up less than five percent of our
cosmos. According to current understanding, a mysterious substance called dark matter constitutes 24 percent of
the matter in the universe. Dark matter is invisible, neither emitting nor absorbing light, but it exerts a
Something even more enigmatic, dark energy, makes up about 73 percent of the universe. While dark matter attracts
through gravity, dark energy is thought to exert a repulsive force that pushes matter apart. Scientists think
dark energy may be responsible for expanding our universe at ever-increasing speeds, an observation that earned
the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.
The primary goal of Euclid's mission is to understand the nature of dark energy and dark matter by accurately
measuring the accelerated expansion of the universe through several independent methods.
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