Investigating dark energy and dark matter

Edinburgh astronomers awarded UK Space Agency funding for international mission.

A consortium of UK astronomers, led by Professor Andy Taylor at the School’s Institute for Astronomy, has been awarded £8 million by the UK Space Agency over the next two years to develop and launch an international space mission to study dark energy and dark matter in the Universe.

The Euclid satellite, expected to be launched in 2023, is a European Space Agency (ESA) flagship mission to image and measure the distance to over 1.5 billion galaxies over 15,000 square degrees of the sky, looking back over half the age of the Universe.

The high-quality images will be carefully processed to generate maps of the distribution and evolution of dark matter and galaxies across the Universe. The maps will be analysed to determine the nature of dark energy, the mysterious phenomena which is driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

The UK Space Agency funding will support UK astronomers and computing specialists who are developing advanced methods for the Euclid Science Ground Segment data analysis, and the UK’s dedicated Euclid Science Data Centre, hosted at Edinburgh. The UK consortium is a major component of the Euclid Consortium, a wider European-led network of scientists working on the Euclid mission.