Space & Astronomy
Star map update to feature 1.7 billion stars
April 26, 2018 | 11 comments
Gaia is providing us with an unparalleled map of the Milky Way. Image Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC
Astronomers from ESA's Gaia mission will tomorrow release the largest map of our galaxy ever created.
Equipped with a 1 billion-pixel camera capable of measuring the diameter of a single human hair from over 1,000km away, Gaia is able to map the galaxy in more detail than ever before.
Launched back in 2013, the spacecraft has already catalogued the position and brightness of 1.1 billion stars and tomorrow astronomers are expected to reveal the addition of a further 600 million.
"It will be the most precise and complete stellar catalog ever produced," said Gaia Science Operations Manager Uwe Lammers.
The new release will cover a much wider region of the galaxy than the previous release and will also include additional data such as stellar temperatures and velocities.
A third release featuring even more stars is expected to take place in 2020.
"Gaia is an unprecedented map of the Milky Way galaxy, fundamental astrophysics at its finest, laying the groundwork for decades of research on everything from the Solar System to the origin and evolution of the Universe," said astronomer Emily Rice.
"It is at once foundational and transformative, which is rare in modern astronomy."
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