Gaia ready for take-off!

Posted by ap507 at Dec 18, 2013 09:50 AM |
Europe’s billion-star surveyor - worked on by University researchers - is ready for launch
Gaia ready for take-off!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gaia, Europe’s billion-star surveyor worked on by researchers from the University and partners, 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.

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.

Other tests will be into gravity, mapping our inner solar system and uncovering tens of thousands of previously unseen objects, including asteroids, planets and supernovae.

The first Gaia recordings will be of 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.