Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Gaia's first data release is here!

Last wednesday the Gaia satellite made its first major data release, exactly 1000 days after the satellite was launched back in 2013.

Gaia's view of 1 billion stars in the Milky Way (the strange arcs across the image are due to the way Gaia
scans across the sky and are not real) (Credit: ESA)
This first data release contains over 2 million stars with positions, distances and proper motions, as well as positions for over 1 billion stars. The astronomical community has been pouring over this data for the last week, and there are already many exciting results and revelations that have been announced, including the discovery of over 3000 variable stars that can be used to independently calculate distances, and over 2000 background quasars.

There's sure to be many more exciting results from this mission and its future data releases, so stay tuned!

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