Gaia affords an unparalleled map of the Milky Approach

Gaia affords an unparalleled map of the Milky Approach
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Posted on Saturday, 11 June 2022 at 22:30

The Gaia mission, whose area telescope maps the Milky Approach intimately, on Monday unveiled an informative new model of the almost two billion stars that tracked their path and analyzed properties.

“That is the Swiss Military knife of astrophysics. “There’s not a single astronomer who won’t use his knowledge immediately or not directly,” the Ivory Coast astronomer informed AFP. France.

The group of astronomers will be capable of subscribe to the third catalog of knowledge collected by the instrument from Monday, from 10:00 GMT. Harvest, accompanied by about fifty scientific articles, lists a wide range of celestial our bodies.

Of the closest, with greater than 150,000 asteroids in our photo voltaic system, “for which the instrument calculated their orbit with unparalleled accuracy,” says Mr. Maynard, to new measurements associated to greater than 1.8 billion stars of the Milky Approach. And past this galaxy: teams of different galaxies and distant quasars.

Launched on behalf of the European House Company (ESA), Gaia has been in operation since 2013, and is stationed in a privileged location known as L2, one and a half million kilometers from Earth, reverse the Solar. .

– clear the air –

“Gaia scans the sky and captures every thing he sees,” sums up astronomer Misha Haywood, on the Paris-PSL Observatory. It detects and observes a really small fraction (barely 1%) of the celebrities in our galaxy, that are 100,000 light-years in diameter.

However it attracts greater than a easy map. Its two telescopes are linked to a billion-pixel photographic sensor, with business cameras counting within the thousands and thousands. Three astronomical devices, photometry and spectroscopy, will interpret actual photons and light-weight indicators after which retrieve them.

“Because of this, it supplies world monitoring of the positions of what’s transferring within the air. That is the primary time, “stated Mr. Haywood continues. Earlier than Gaia, “We had a really restricted view of the galaxy.”

for Gaia? It was Hipparcos, the satellite tv for pc that precipitated a revolution after its launch by the European House Company in 1997, which cataloged greater than 110,000 celestial our bodies.

With Gaia, astronomers have entry to not solely the positions and actions of a lot of stars, but in addition measurements of their bodily and chemical characters, and their ages are simply as essential.

Astronomer Paula Di Matteo, a colleague of Misha Haywood on the Paris PSL Observatory, explains a lot of the data “that tells us about their earlier evolution, and subsequently in regards to the evolution of the galaxy.”

– nice discoveries –

It’s also “one of many causes Gaia was constructed,” the astronomer continued. “Stars have the peculiarity of life for billions of years. So measuring them is like measuring a fossil that tells us in regards to the state of the galaxy on the time of its formation. “

This overview of the actions of the Milky Approach’s stars has already led to nice discoveries. With the second catalog, delivered in 2018, astronomers had been in a position to present that our galaxy “merged” with ours one other ten billion years in the past.

The catalog has produced 1000’s of scientific articles since its first subject in 2016. Fran├žois explains that knowledge circulation requires a devoted terrestrial processing chain, DPAC, which calls up supercomputers for six European laptop facilities, mobilizing 450 specialists. Maynard, who was in cost.

“With out this processing suite, there is no such thing as a job,” as a result of Gaia produces 700 million star places, 150 million photometers, and 14 million spectra every single day. A storm of uncooked knowledge, reworking “human-led” algorithms into measurements that astronomers can use.

It should take 5 years to ship this third catalog of observations from 2014 to 2017. And will probably be needed to attend till 2030 for the ultimate model, when Gaia will end scanning the area, in 2025.

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