Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Europe's billion-star surveyor is ready for launch

Date:
December 18, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Europe's billion-star surveyor, Gaia, is due to be launched into space on Thursday 19 December 2013, where it will embark on its mission to create a highly accurate 3D map of our galaxy.

Gaia Kourou.
Credit: Copyright ESA-CNES-Arianespace / Optique Vidéo du CSG - P. Baudon 27 August 2013

Europe's billion-star surveyor, Gaia, is due to be launched into space on Thursday 19 December 2013, where it will embark on its mission to create a highly accurate 3D map of our galaxy.

Related Articles


The University of Leicester contribution to this international project is led by Professor Martin Barstow, and includes Dr Duncan Fyfe and Dr Patricio Ortiz. The overall UK Gaia Project is led by Professor Gerry Gilmore from the University of Cambridge.

By repeatedly observing a billion stars, with its billion-pixel video camera, the Gaia mission will allow astronomers to determine the origin and evolution of our galaxy whilst also testing gravity, mapping our inner solar system, and uncovering tens of thousands of previously unseen objects, including asteroids in our solar system, planets around nearby stars, and supernovae in other galaxies.

Gaia will map the stars from an orbit around the Sun, near a location some 1.5 million km beyond Earth's orbit known as the L2 Lagrangian point. The spacecraft will spin slowly, sweeping its two telescopes across the entire sky and focusing their light simultaneously onto a single digital camera, the largest ever flown in space. The 'eye' of Gaia's camera has the most sensitive set of light detectors ever assembled for a space mission.

Professor Martin Barstow from the University of Leicester, who is leading the Leicester team on the project, said: "Gaia is one of the most exciting space missions I have worked on during my career. Its survey of the Galaxy will be in unprecedented detail and the precision of the distance measurements it makes will transform astronomy and our understanding of the Universe."

Once Gaia starts routine operations, around Easter 2014, astronomers will have the challenge of dealing with a flood of data. Even after being compressed by software, the data produced by the five-year mission will fill over 30,000 CD ROMs.

This data will be transmitted 'raw' and will need processing on Earth to turn it into a calibrated set of measurements that can be freely used by the astronomical community. The cutting edge computer technology developed at the Cambridge Data Processing Centre will be integral to this process.

The first Gaia science will be discoveries of new sources -- supernovae, extreme variable stars and blazars -- which will be discovered at the Cambridge processing centre, and immediately made available for study by both professionals and the interested public.

Gaia will discover many new sources which are bright enough for amateurs, and schools with access to public robotic telescopes, to become the first to confirm and obtain more information.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Europe's billion-star surveyor is ready for launch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218130231.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, December 18). Europe's billion-star surveyor is ready for launch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218130231.htm
University of Leicester. "Europe's billion-star surveyor is ready for launch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218130231.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's SMAP Satellite Will Measure Wet Dirt From Space

NASA's SMAP Satellite Will Measure Wet Dirt From Space

Newsy (Feb. 1, 2015) — NASA&apos;s Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite mission will collect data to help forecast crop productivity, floods, droughts and wildfires. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — Russia&apos;s space agency created a video that shows what our sky would look like with different star if they were as close as our sun. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) walks us through the cool video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) — NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins