These images demonstrate the exceptional performance of this new space observatory: it has been designed to take wide-field images - the Euclid telescope's field of view is 0.53 degrees squared, or 100 times greater than that of the James Webb telescope, for example - while having an angular resolution of 0.1 arcsec over the entire field. The first images obtained demonstrate the instrument's performance, in particular the stability of the angular resolution obtained in the visible and infrared wavelengths.
This performance is crucial to Euclid's scientific objectives. They will enable us to unambiguously identify a large number of distant galaxies, and precisely measure their shape and luminosity. These cosmological surveys will enable us to tackle the central scientific questions of the mission: elucidating the laws of gravity on a cosmological scale and allowing a better understanding of what may be behind the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, attributed to the enigmatic dark energy.
Over the last three decades, the IPhT has developed expertise in the theory of the formation and evolution of the large structures of the universe, which Euclid will endeavour to observe and map. More recently, it has also developed expertise in the construction of alternative models to general relativity, whose observational signatures we are now endeavouring to identify. The expertise acquired at the IPhT is highly visible in the project. Deputy to the Euclid consortium leader, Francis Bernardeau is in charge of scientific performance verification, i.e. verifying Euclid's performance in measuring the parameters describing the equation of state of this famous dark energy. Francis Bernardeau is also one of the project's spokespersons, and as such he spoke at the ESA press conference on 7 November to present the consortium's challenges.
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