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Gaia’s first sky map

September 14, 2016, 1000 days after the launch of Soyuz Gaia satellite , ESA and the European Consortium DPAC ( Data Processing and Analysis Consortium) will deliver the first catalog data from the Gaia mission.
Besancon researchers of UTINAM Institute and Observatory of Earth Sciences THETA Franche-Comté Bourgogne are part of this incredible adventure since its beginning over 15 years . Celine Reyle , Annie Robin and Jean- Marc Petit contributed to this mission by making software and simulations to prepare the tools for processing and analysis of the spacecraft , and the verification and sorting data published in catalogs .

Launched on 19 December 2013 the Gaia satellite has a goal for the less ambitious : to map part of our galaxy. A colossal work since it is in practice to identify no less than a billion celestial objects (stars, exoplanets), estimating the distance between the Earth and their own speed. If the number of objects to be observed by Gaia is exceptionally high, the precision with which they will be located will be just as. This accuracy may be up to 7 microseconds of arc (the size of a 20 cent seen on the surface of the Moon, one arcsecond is equivalent to 1 / 3600th of a degree). With Gaia observations, astronomers will unveil the formation, structure and history of the Milky Way.

Located one and a half million km from Earth on the axis Sun - Earth, Gaia will accompany the movement of the Earth around the Sun for 5 or 6 years until 2018-2019. Results will be published in the form of successive intermediate catalogs (Gaia Gaia Data Release = CD), until the final catalog in 2020. The complex processing of collected data is performed by the DPAC : European consortium which work about 450 scientists and engineers 25 European countries. The first catalog, the "Gaia DR1 ’, include the positions and bursts of about a billion stars, based on observations made between 25 July 2014 and 16 September 2015. The next catalog (Gaia DR2), more complete and accurate, is expected in the last quarter of 2017.

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The first map of the Milky Way seen by Gaia. © ESA, Gaia, DPAC

Researcher contacts :

- * Celine Reyle - UTINAM Institute (UMR 6213 CNRS / UFC) - OSU THETA Franche-Comté Bourgogne Mail : celine.reyle chez - Phone : + (33) 03 81 66 69 35

- * Annie Robin - UTINAM Institute (UMR 6213 CNRS / UFC) - OSU THETA Franche-Comté Bourgogne Mail : annie chez Phone : + (33) 03 81 66 69 41

- * Jean-Marc Petit - UTINAM Institute (UMR 6213 CNRS / UFC) OSU THETA Franche-Comté Bourgogne - Mail : petit chez - Phone : + (33) 03 81 66 69 29

Article reference available on 14 September at 12:30

Website of Gaia mission