Euclid Telescope Captures the Cosmos

Artist impression of the Euclid mission in space.

Euclid Telescope Captures the Cosmos

This new glimpse into the universe is deeply inspiring, but not for the reason astronomers think.

The European Space Agency’s Euclid Telescope sent back its first images this week, capturing a fragment of the sky in stunning detail. The images, a test to show the cameras are working, were produced with minimal tuning. They reveal just a glimpse of what Euclid will be capable of observing once fully calibrated.

The image above only covers an area that is a quarter of the width and height of the full moon. Euclid’s goal is to observe over a third of the entire sky. This image is only 4 percent of the instrument’s field of view. It also has a shorter exposure time: 100 seconds, 20 percent of the exposure time it will eventually operate at. The longer the exposure, the more light enters, allowing Euclid to capture more detail.

Euclid’s image quality is at least four times sharper than pictures by ground-based telescopes. The telescope uses two scientific instruments: Its visible light camera takes sharp images of the shapes of galaxies in deep space, while its near infrared spectrometer and photometer measures the amount of light emitted by galaxies at different wavelengths, helping scientists calculate how far away each galaxy is. By combining data from these two instruments, astronomers can map how galaxies are distributed throughout the universe and how that distribution has changed over time.

Euclid was launched on July 1 after 11 years of design and development. Its mission is to create a 3-D map (with time as the third dimension) of several billion galaxies. Astronomers hope this map will explain why the universe’s rate of expansion is accelerating. By measuring space between galaxies, astronomers are seeing the universe as it was billions of years ago, giving them clues as to how dark matter and dark energy have affected the structure and expansion of the universe over time.

Dark matter and dark energy describe the mysterious forces that govern the universe: Dark matter slows universe expansion, while dark energy speeds it up. It is estimated that they account for 95 percent of the universe. Yet dark matter and dark energy are two of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. Scientists hope Euclid will shed light on them.

Why Universe Expansion?

There is another source we already have access to that unlocks the mysteries of the universe. This source is not based on scientific observation of the heavens. Instead, it was revealed by the Creator of those heavens. The Bible has already shown us why the universe is expanding, and it revolves around God’s plan for mankind.

Isaiah 45:18 says, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.”

Some take this to mean only the Earth was “to be inhabited.” But that is not what God is talking about here. Compare this with Hebrews 2:8, which says “all things” will be put in subjection under man. In Hebrews 1, “all things” is translated “the universe” in the Moffatt translation.

God is awaiting the day when He will “plant the heavens” (Isaiah 51:16). He is going to seed it with life. Shocking as it may sound, God wants to give mankind the universe.

As for dark matter, the Bible also has an explanation for why the universe doesn’t collapse on itself. Colossians 1:17 says that “by him all things consist” or are held together. Christ is “upholding the universe by his word of power” (Hebrews 1:3; Revised Standard Version).

Our booklet Our Awesome Universe Potential explains how God may have revealed the existence of dark matter to Job. God asks, “[T]ell me about the darkness. Where does it come from? Can you find its boundaries, or go to its source?” (Job 38:19-20; the Living Bible). We write, “Perhaps ‘dark matter’ is actually the invisible power of God holding the universe together.”

Euclid’s test images are deeply inspiring. But it is not because they are a forerunner for more images to come or because they’ll help explain dark energy or dark matter. They’re inspiring because they give us a glimpse into the universe that we will soon inhabit.

You were created for an incredible purpose. The Bible reveals it. God wants to infuse your life with a hope unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Request our free book The Incredible Human Potential, by Herbert W. Armstrong, to see the reason for the vast universe and the inspiring role you will have in it.