Universe

Sky Map with 1.14 billion stars is just a beginning…

1,000 days to the start of the Gaia mission the ESA presents first results; including a sky map of 1.14 billion stars in the milky way. The heavenly paparazzo but still has long ago does not work: the map shows just one percent of the stars in our galaxy.

If the big data is, what then? The space telescope, “Gaia” the European Space Agency ESA does nothing since July 2014, but to photograph light points at all in a tour with a +1 billion pixel camera with 106 light-sensitive sensors, as well as two high-precision telescope on board. And she’s not done long ago: until at least 2019 she should make further still.

sky-map
Tell me, how many stars are there? the Gaia spacecraft is working. Their first sky map shows the density of stars in the night sky. 1.14 billion should it be according to ESA. And that only one percent of the stars in our galaxy. Photo: ESA/Gaia/DPAC

Hundreds of thousands of gigabytes to prepare sky map with 1.14 billion stars.

The probe shovels the data unceasingly to the Earth; more specifically to the European space operations center ESOC ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, where they are directly processed or forwarded to other sites. Within the planned mission duration of five years an amount of more than a Petabyte, data will arrive there are over a million gigabytes, which would fill 1.5 million CD-ROMs, even in the compressed State. The whole thing, so the plan should result in the previously detailed 3D map of the milky way.

How this can look, shows a first sky map, now exactly 1,000 days after the start of the Mission published by ESA and based on the data of the first 14 months of the mission by July 2014-September 2015. Already these “appetizers” from all listed our Galaxy approximately one per cent of the star about 1.14 billion star. Incidentally a 3D movie created on basis of Gaia’s measurements, shows the distances and movements of the two million brightest stars of our environment.

“An unprecedented precision”.

All have emphasized an unprecedented precision, such as ESA Science Director Alvaro Giménez. The Sky Map is comparable to one made by the space telescope “Hubble”, says only that the image on the basis of Gaia’s data now show the whole sky of and not “only” snippets. Finally the space telescope could recognize a hair from a distance of 1,000 kilometers away or a coin on the moon if it’s because your order.

But it is not, and so she don’t even stop himself with objects in the nearest distance to Earth. Instead, she focused on celestial bodies, which sometimes thousands of light-years away. Thus the probe caught thousands of distant active galaxies so called quasars also points of light outside of the milky way, including already. She captured even objects that would have to be one hundred thousand times will when man wanted to explore with the naked eye, and Gaia has measured and the brightness fluctuations of over 3,000 variable stars.

High expectations of the sky map.

You could still not exactly clear what to start, yet everything was with a star map of the intended basic research and according to Alvaro Giménez “revolutionary insight into the development and motion of the stars in our Galaxy”, the ESA is expectant. The researchers want to learn more not only about the development of the milky way, but also hope for more puzzle stones for the study of dark matter, which so far is one of the biggest puzzles of in Astrophysics.

For the card but at the end is not only a beautiful photo wallpaper, but allows precise statements about the universe, it must be absolutely accurate. The distances of the stars to us and each other are determined for example by Parallax measurement, based on triangulation (divide a surface into triangles) and comparison of object shifts against the background of each.

The ESA position determination of Gaia, which she has on 0.3 nano-meter exactly in sight is accordingly fussy. It is helpful that the probe at the Lagrange point L2, where the centrifugal force removes the gravity of the Sun and Earth, is pinned down in always maintaining the same distance of 1.5 million kilometers to Earth. Controlled this is observatories per day through the bearing by several radio antennas and a scarce dozen photos.

Next release end of 2017.

The next word messages of Gaia are already planned: In the fourth quarter of 2017, so in just over a year, the ESA wants to present back data and results of the spacecraft. Publications are planned for the years 2018 and 2019 there are entire tracks ready by 2022.

You can check here about the exciting plans of ESA for the nearest human outpost in space.

Read more: http://sci.esa.int/gaia/58209-gaia-s-first-sky-map/

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