The space mission EUCLID, intended to map the universe in order to understand the influence of dark matter and dark energy, just passed the implementation phase. The EUCLID mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), involving scientists from CEA-IRFU, is to be launched in 2020 by a Soyuz Russian rocket. It aims to measure the position and shape of over a billion galaxies up to distances of ten billion light years. EUCLID was selected in 2011 as the second medium mission (M2) of the ESA "Cosmic Vision" program. After a feasibility study (phase B), the mission has been authorized in October 2014 to start the construction phase of its platform and its scientific instruments (phase C and D).
2014 has been a fruitful year for SVOM (Space-based multiband astronomical Variable Objects Monitor), a chinese and french space mission dedicated to the study of gamma-ray bursts. The decisions taken at the highest level, the governments in March and the respective space agencies in August, restart the project after a frozen period. As a direct result, two important meetings of the consortium (kick-off meeting) took place in September, one at CNES in Toulouse and the other at Shanghai. These meetings mainly based on technical aspects of the project are an important step towards the realization of the satellite payload of the mission which is scheduled to be launched in 2021. CEA-IRFU and its Astrophysics Department play a major role in this project in partnership with CNRS and under the overall responsibility of CNES.
For a more detailed account, see the French version.
Using the latest data from the Planck and WMAP satellites, the laboratory CosmoStat (LCS) of CEA-IRFU just provides the most complete and accurate picture of the diffuse microwave background of the universe considered to be the primary light emitted at the beginning of the expansion. The new map of the diffuse background was built thanks to a new method of separating components called LGMCA particularly well suited to the separation of galactic foregrounds that blur the background image. Unlike previous results, the map restores the details of the diffuse background across the entire sky including the Galactic plane region of the sky where the estimate is particularly difficult. It is also more effective in reducing the defects introduced by the existence of hot gas in galaxy clusters. These results are in press in Astronomy & Astrophysics and were presented at the conference "Horizon of Statistics" on January 21, 2014 at the Institut Henri Poincare (Paris).