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ESA's Euclid to probe mysterious 'dark energy'

Washington, Thu, 06 Oct 2011 ANI

Washington, Sept 06 (ANI): The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected a mission to investigate the mysterious "dark energy" and the accelerating expansion of the universe.


The origin of the accelerating expansion of the universe is one of the most fascinating challenges of the 21st-century cosmology and fundamental physics.


Astronomers and physicists are convinced that understanding its origin will revolutionize our concepts of quantum physics, gravity, and the physics of the very early universe.


The Euclid telescope will map the distribution of galaxies over a large fraction of the sky to try to get some fresh insight on dark energy, dark matter and gravity.


By measuring the apparent shapes and the distribution of galaxies in the universe, the astronomers will constrain the nature of dark energy and will examine whether the general theory of relativity is still a valid description of gravitation on scales of billions of light-years.


To achieve this, the satellite will be equipped with a visible imager (VIS) and a near-infrared spectro-imager (NISP) developed by a European consortium comprising more than 110 laboratories and 800 scientists in Europe.


The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and the Ludwig Maximilians-University (LMU) will play a major role in Euclid, which will be launched in 2019.


"Euclid will not only provide very stringent new constraints on dark energy and thus may bring us a large step forward in solving physics' biggest riddle. It will also give many new insights into the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters; objects that our group has a keen interest in," said Prof. Ralf Bender, from MPE and LMU and member of the Euclid Consortium Board. (ANI)


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