Euclid ‘dark universe’ telescope gets de-iced from a million miles away

Just like drivers scrape ice from car windshields during the winter, scientists with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid observatory are trying to “de-ice” the telescope — from a million miles away.

Ice layers, about as wide as a single DNA strand, have accumulated on Euclid’s mirrors. Although small, the ice appears to have caused “a small but progressive decrease” in the amount of starlight the telescope is capturing, the agency said in a statement on March 19 (Tuesday). The telescope continues its science observations for now while scientists begin heating low-risk optical parts of the spacecraft to begin a de-icing process. These low-risk areas correspond to sections on the telescope where released water is unlikely to impair other instruments, the agency said.

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