May 30, 2020

Gaia Satellite Scans the Sky to Measure Positions and Motions of 1.7 Billion Stars [Video]

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

Launched in 2013, the Gaia satellite has been scanning the sky to measure the positions, distances and motions of more than one billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The goal of the mission is to create the most detailed galactic map ever made, in order to investigate the Milky Way’s past and future history like never before.

The animation below shows the satellite as it scans great circles around the sky. Eventually, the sky is unfolded to reveal the view of the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars from the second Gaia data release. The map shows the total brightness and colour of stars observed by Gaia in each portion of the sky between July 2014 and May 2016. Brighter regions indicate denser concentrations of especially bright stars, while darker regions correspond to patches of the sky where fewer bright stars are observed. In the middle of the image, the Galactic center appears vivid and teeming with stars.

Animation of data from ESA’s Gaia second release, which was made public on April 25, 2018.

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