A Euclid Milestone! | In the Dark

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A Euclid Milestone! | In the Dark


I just heard some excellent news about Euclid so thought I would post a quick update here. I won’t say much because there will no doubt be official communications from the European Space Agency and the Euclid Consortium. You can find a variety of Euclid-related posts on this blog here.

Over the past few months, there has been a huge amount of activity relating to commissioning the instruments, verifying their performance, and measuring parameters of the optical system that will be needed for analysis of the huge amount of data due to come from Euclid. All this effort fed into the Mission Commissioning Results Review (MCRR) which concluded yesterday that all was well.

This is an important milestone for Euclid because, in ESA parlance, it marks the change from a project to a mission. Until commissioning, there is a project manager who works with ESA and the industrial contractors to ensure everything functions properly; when nominal operations start the project team is disbanded and the mission team. That’s when the role of the Euclid Consortium increases substantially.

In particular the Science Ground Segment (SGS), which includes the pipelines that will process the data, was declared to be ready for business. You can read more about the SGS here but here’s a graphic that shows how data comes from the telescope, external telescopes, or simulations, then run through their respective pipelines for VIS, NISP, or external data, then are merged into a coherent format. Pipelines then extract scientific information and compute science data products for further analysis

Each element of this diagram is rather complex. Here, for example, is the organization of the Science Data Centre (SDC) component of the Science Ground Segment at the bottom of the above picture, consisting of computing centers responsible for implementing and running the data processing pipelines:

Anyway, the immediate upshot of all this is that the Euclid Wide Survey can now proceed. I understand that this will commence in earnest on 14th February. The timescale from now is that the first full set of survey data (DR1) will be available internally to the Euclid Consortium in May or June 2025 and will be made public a year later (i.e. by June 2026).

That doesn’t mean that Euclid will be silent until 2026. In fact, the first batch of post-launch papers will come out very soon, in May 2024. This will include science papers resulting from the Early Release Observations – the data from these will also be made public at the same time – as well as an overview paper for the whole mission and papers describing the details of NISP and VIS instruments using measurements made during commissioning. There will also be a release in May 2025 of data from the Deep Survey patch of about 50 square degrees.

So, the board is set. The pieces are moving.

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