A multitude of discoveries are on the horizon after this much awaited release, which is based on 22 months of charting the sky. The new data includes positions, distance indicators and motions of more than one billion stars, along with high-precision measurements of asteroids within our Solar System and stars beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Preliminary analysis of this phenomenal data reveals fine details about the make-up of the Milky Way’s stellar population and about how stars move, essential information for investigating the formation and evolution of our home Galaxy.
“Gaia is an ambitious mission that relies on a huge human collaboration to make sense of a large volume of highly complex data. It demonstrates the need for long-term projects to guarantee progress in space science and technology and to implement even more daring scientific missions of the coming decades.”
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“The sheer number of stars alone, with their positions and motions, would make Gaia’s new catalogue already quite astonishing,” adds Anthony.
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“Even in the neighbourhood of the Sun, which is the region we thought we understood best, Gaia is revealing new and exciting features.”
Galaxy in 3D
Globular cluster and dwarf galaxy orbits
Parallax and proper motion on the sky
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The content of the second Gaia release was presented today during a media briefing at the ILA Berlin Air and Space Show in Germany.
Gaia is an ESA mission to survey more than one billion stars in our Galaxy and its local neighbourhood in order to build the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way and answer questions about its structure, origin and evolution.