Euclid’s view of the Perseus cluster of galaxies

Ensci_euclid20231107e_1024

ensci_euclid20231107e November 7th, 2023

Credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA

This incredible snapshot from Euclid is a revolution for astronomy. The image shows 1000 galaxies belonging to the Perseus Cluster, and more than 100,000 additional galaxies further away in the background, each containing up to hundreds of billions of stars.

Many of these faint galaxies were previously unseen. Some of them are so distant that their light has taken 10 billion years to reach us. By mapping the distribution and shapes of these galaxies, cosmologists will be able to find out more about how dark matter shaped the Universe that we see today.

This is the first time that such a large image has allowed us to capture so many Perseus galaxies in such a high level of detail. Perseus is one of the most massive structures known in the Universe, located ‘just’ 240 million light-years away from Earth, containing thousands of galaxies, immersed in a vast cloud of hot gas. Astronomers demonstrated that galaxy clusters like Perseus can only have formed if dark matter is present in the Universe.

Technical details: The data in this image were taken in just five hours of observation. This color image was obtained by combining VIS data and NISP photometry in Y and H bands; its size is 8800 x 8800 pixels. VIS and NISP enable observing astronomical sources in four different wavelength ranges. Aesthetics choices led to the selection of three out of these four bands to be cast onto the traditional Red-Green-Blue color channels used to represent images on our digital screens (RGB).

The blue, green, red channels capture the Universe seen by Euclid around the wavelength 0.7, 1.1, and 1.7 micron respectively. This gives Euclid a distinctive color palette: hot stars have a white-blue hue, excited hydrogen gas appears in the blue channel, and regions rich in dust and molecular gas have a clear red hue. Distant redshifted background galaxies appear very red.

In the image, the stars have six prominent spikes due to how light interacts with the optical system of the telescope in the process of diffraction. Another signature of Euclid special optics is the presence of a few, very faint and small round regions of a fuzzy blue color. These are normal artifacts of complex optical systems, so-called ‘optical ghost’; easily identifiable during data analysis, they do not cause any problem for the science goals.

ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Provider: Euclid

Image Source: https://euclid.caltech.edu/image/euclid20231107e-euclid-s-view-of-the-perseus-cluster-of-galaxies

Curator: Euclid-ESA

Image Use Policy: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Terms_and_Conditions

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Perseus Cluster
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Grouping > Cluster

Distance

Universescale3
240,000,000 light years
Ensci_euclid20231107e_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 3h 18m 43.4s
DEC = 41° 36’ 53.3”
Orientation
North is 31.0° CCW
Field of View
44.0 x 44.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Perseus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Euclid (VIS) Optical 700.0 nm
Green Euclid (NISP) Infrared 1.1 µm
Red Euclid (NISP) Infrared 1.7 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Ensci_euclid20231107e_1280
×
ID
euclid20231107e
Subject Category
C.5.5.3.  
Subject Name
Perseus Cluster
Credits
ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA
Release Date
2023-11-07
Lightyears
240,000,000
Redshift
240,000,000
Reference Url
https://euclid.caltech.edu/image/euclid20231107e-euclid-s-view-of-the-perseus-cluster-of-galaxies
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Euclid, Euclid, Euclid
Instrument
VIS, NISP, NISP
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
700, 1100, 1700
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
49.6807745289113, 41.614796011276852
Reference Dimension
3000, 3000
Reference Pixel
1500, 1500
Scale
-0.0002446, 0.0002446
Rotation
30.95
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Euclid-ESA
URL
https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Euclid
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
City
State/Province
Publisher
Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC (ENSCI)
Publisher ID
ensci
Resource ID
Metadata Date
2023-11-21T19:51:23Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
240,000,000 light years

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