View Full Version : New European Space Agency star map of Milky Way....billions

09-14-2016, 03:32 PM
Cool stuff
Measures the positions of stars multiple times throughout the years. That is a lot of data.


The European Space Agency (ESA) has released the largest, most detailed map of the Milky Way, pinpointing the 3D positions of 1.1 billion stars, 400 million of which were previously unknown to science.
ESA’s Gaia space observatory mapped out the catalogue. It is expected to transform what astronomers know about the Galaxy—allowing researchers to discover new extrasolar planets, examine the distribution of dark matter, and fine-tune models of how stars evolve.
Hundreds of astronomers began to access the database as soon as it was made publicly available on September 14, says Gaia project scientist Timo Prusti, who works at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. “My advice to the astronomical community is: please enjoy with us,” he said at a press conference in Madrid.
Gaia has already found more stars than researchers expected, which suggests that the Milky Way may be slightly bigger than previously estimated, says Gisella Clementini, a Gaia researcher at the Bologna Astronomical Observatory in Italy.
launched in late 2013 and started its scientific mission in July 2014. The preliminary catalogue released today is based on its first 14 months of data-taking. Gaia does not take still exposures in the way of ordinary telescope cameras. Instead, it constantly spins on its axis every six hours, watching stars leave streaks along its 1-gigapixel detector.
By comparing scans of the sky taken six months apart, researchers are able to triangulate and measure stars' distances, using a method known as parallax that dates back to ancient Greece. For more than two million stars, the catalogue also includes accurate measurement of the stars’ distances from the Sun and their motion, obtained by comparing Gaia data with Hipparcos’s. In future releases, the catalogue will grow to include the distances and velocities of more than a billion stars.


09-14-2016, 03:40 PM
That would make a really nice wall paper for the ceiling.

Do they call that "ceiling paper"? Whatever. I like it. Thank you for sharing.