Promising first observations for the Euclid space telescope

Scientific results Astroparticles and cosmology

Today, ESA and the Euclid consortium are sharing the data, images and scientific results from the preliminary observation phase of ESA's Euclid space telescope, in orbit since July 2023. This promising first demonstration of the telescope's performance comes with a full technical review of the instruments, including NISP, the instrument designed by CNRS through its national institutes - IN2P3 and INSU.

Paris, 23 May 2024: ESA and the Euclid consortium are today publishing data from the Early Release Observation phase of the Euclid space telescope. This test phase is intended to provide a first glimpse of the depth and diversity of the observations that Euclid will be able to provide. Since its launch, Euclid has observed seventeen extragalactic targets, including galaxy clusters, nearby galaxies, globular clusters and star-forming regions. Their analysis led to the discovery of young stray planets, populations of globular clusters around nearby galaxies and new dwarf galaxies with low surface luminosity. This phase has also made it possible to observe the distribution of dark matter and intracluster light in galaxy clusters, and to study galaxies with a high redshift perceived by gravitational lensing.

Pouponnière d'étoiles Messier
As part of the initial phase of Euclid observations, this photograph captures Messier 78, a highly luminous nursery of stars enveloped in interstellar dust. Euclid's advanced performance enables scientists to reveal hidden star-forming regions, map complex filaments of gas and dust in unprecedented detail, and discover newly-formed stars and planets.

These observations have given rise to the publication of ten images available on the ESA website and have been the subject of ten scientific articles published today and accessible from the Euclid consortium website. They are accompanied by five reference articles detailing the characteristics and performance of the telescope and its subsystems, two of which are devoted to the NISP (Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer) instrument, a state-of-the-art spectrometer and photometer that has benefited from major contributions from IN2P3 and INSU laboratories. Tests indicate that all the instruments are operating at a level fully in line with expectations.

About Euclid

Designed to map billions of galaxies across the history of the Universe in greater detail than ever before, Euclid will provide cosmologists with a wealth of invaluable data, including the distribution of dark matter in the Universe and the footprint of dark energy. The telescope is distinguished from its predecessors by its ability to observe a large part of the sky in a single image. It will take 40,000 pictures over the six years of its mission.

CNRS contribution

The Euclid consortium, which includes scientists from the CNRS, is responsible for building the scientific instruments, developing the data processing chain, producing calibrated images and catalogues delivered to the global scientific community, and for scientific exploitation.

CNRS Nucléaire & Particules (IN2P3) laboratories

  • AstroParticules et Cosmologie (APC) is jointly responsible for the deployment, integration and production of Euclid simulations.

Tutelles : Université Paris Cité / CNRS 

  • Centre de Calcul de l’Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (CC-IN2P3) is in charge of processing the Euclid data. Processing the data from the satellite represents a considerable volume and a very long processing time, requiring thousands of hours of computing at the CC-IN2P3.

Tutelle : CNRS 

  • Centre de physique des Particules de Marseille (CPPM) is responsible for the focal plane of the NISP instrument, one of the largest infrared cameras in space, and for verifying the performance of the infrared detectors and characterising them. The laboratory is also responsible for the Instrument Scientist and scientific performance analysis of the NISP instrument. 

Tutelles : Aix‐Marseille Université/CNRS

  • Institut de physique des 2 infinis de Lyon (IP2I) is responsible for characterising and verifying the performance of the NISP's infrared detectors, as well as carrying out scientific performance analyses. It is also co-responsible for extracting spectra from the ground segment.

Tutelles : Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 / CNRS

  • Le Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique & Cosmologie (LPSC) contributes to the characterization of the NISP instrument. 

Tutelle : Université Grenoble Alpes / CNRS


CNRS Terre & Univers (INSU) laboratories

  • Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (IAP) is responsible for the scientific aspects of the mission, management of the Euclid Consortium, production of data obtained with the VISible imager, and is a member of the ground segment system and data management team.

Tutelles : Sorbonne Université / CNRS

  • Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS) / OSUPS is responsible for the design, production and delivery of the VIS calibration system (Calibration Unit). It is also responsible (along with INAF Trieste and LMU Munich) for the MER Organisational Unit of the Ground Segment, in charge of merging VIS and NISP data and producing the galaxy catalogue.

Tutelles : Université Paris‐Saclay / CNRS

  • Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM) / PYTHEAS is responsible for the NISP instrument and is the prime contractor. It supplied the silicon carbide mechanical structure and the grisms. Tests in a space environment, to qualify and verify the instrument's performance, were carried out in the LAM's large cryogenic chamber, developed with the support of CNES.

Tutelles : Aix‐Marseille Université / CNRS / Cnes

  • Laboratoire Lagrange / OCA has been responsible since 2012 for the Clusters of galaxies Implementation Workpackage of the Organisation Unit LE3 of the Scientific Ground Segment, jointly with INAF, Trieste. This workpackage coordinates the implementation of algorithms aimed at detecting, characterising and analysing the clustering properties of galaxy clusters. It coordinates the Sol Segment cluster pipeline and is responsible for the delivery of the Euclid galaxy cluster catalogue, as well as the solar system science working group, and is responsible for the True Universe stellar simulations.

Tutelles : Université Côte d’Azur / CNRS / OCA

  • Astrophysique Instrumentation et Modélisation (AIM) / OSUPS is co-responsible for the design, construction and integration of the instrument's focal plane and the electronic box controlling the cold elements.

Tutelles : Université Paris Diderot / CNRS / CEA

  • Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) / OMP

Tutelles : Université Toulouse 3 ‐ Paul Sabatier / CNRS / Cnes


CNRS Sciences Informatiques laboratories

  • Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRISTAL)

Tutelles : CNRS - Centrale Lille - Université de Lille

  • Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT)

Tutelles : CNRS - INP Toulouse - Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier


CNRS Physique laboratories

  • Laboratoire d'Annecy-le-Vieux de physique théorique (LAPTH)

Tutelles : CNRS - Université Savoie Mont Blanc

  • Institut de physique théorique (IPhT)

Tutelles : CNRS - CEA


Stéphanie Escoffier
Chercheuse au CPPM et responsable Euclid France
Vincent Poireau
DAS Astroparticules et cosmologie
Thomas Hortala
Chargé de communication