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New telescope to probe dark matter

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced it will go ahead with a major new telescope that will be launched in 2019. The mission, named after the Greek mathematician Euclid, will study the distribution of dark matter within the universe by observing the way that light is bent by matter in accordance with General Relativity. This effect called gravitational lensing has been observed in the distant Universe for several decades but Euclid will search for more subtle examples that help astronomers to calculate the distribution of mass within individual galaxies.    

In coordination with the other member states of ESA, British engineers and scientists will play a key role in developing the telescope and its sensors. The UK team will produce the telescope’s optical imager which will be one of the largest cameras launched into space. NASA is to provide support with the launching of the telescope.