Gaia is mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented detail • Earth.com

Gaia is mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented detail

09-25-2022

Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency describes a new data release from the Gaia observatory, which was launched in 2013. The observatory has been mapping our galaxy from Lagrange point 2, creating the most accurate and complete multi-dimensional map of the Milky Way.

“By now two full sets of data have been released, the first set in 2016 and a second one in 2018. These data contained stellar positions, distances, motions across the sky, and colour information, among others,” says ESA.

On June 13, 2022 a third full data set was released. ESA said this data release contains even more and improved information about almost two billion stars, Solar System objects and extragalactic sources.

“It also includes radial velocities for 33 million stars, a five-time increase compared to data release 2,” explains ESA. “Another novelty in this data set is the largest catalog yet of binary stars in the Milky Way, which is crucial to understand stellar evolution.”

Video/ Image Credit: ESA

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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