Gaia mission Open Data to build the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way

Gaia is the name of the primal goddess of the Earth in greek mythology – but also an ambitious ESA mission to chart a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. It’s primary objective is to survey one thousand million (one billion) stars in our Galaxy and its local galactic neighbourhood to build the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way and answer questions about its origin and evolution.

An all-sky view of stars in our Galaxy – the Milky Way – and neighbouring galaxies, based on data of the first year of observations from ESA’s Gaia satellite, from July 2014 to September 2015. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

An all-sky view of stars in our Galaxy – the Milky Way – and neighbouring galaxies, based on data of the first year of observations from ESA’s Gaia satellite, from July 2014 to September 2015. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

The mission’s secondary objectives reveal Gaia as the ultimate discovery machine. It is expected to find up to ten thousand planets beyond our Solar System and hundreds of thousands of asteroids and comets within it. The mission will also reveal tens of thousands of failed stars and supernovae, and will even test Einstein’s famous theory of General Relativity.

The Gaia Archive is hosted at ESA ESAC in Spain, operations and archiving centre for all of ESA’s planetary science and solar system (and beyond) exploration missions. It offers all data at

https://gea.esac.esa.int/archive/

Credit and citation instructions can be found here, more information on how to use the archive below. Also note the Visualisation tool.

 

 

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