Science

Scientists release most detailed star chart of Milky Way

Scientists release most detailed star chart of Milky Way

For example, he showed how Gaia proved for the first time that certain star clusters puff up at the same time as large stars sink to their centres.

"We did not know if it was going to be nice but it's really wonderful", said Brown, while he presented the blue and red sky map based on information about the temperature of millions of stars, clouds of dust, and gas.

At an event to present the Gaia catalogue at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, astronomer Gerry Gilmore of the University of Cambridge, UK, presented a striking video that extrapolated on the Gaia data to simulate the future motion of millions of stars. Variable stars are an important tool in astronomy because their periods (how often they pulsate) are directly related to their luminosity or brightness, so they are sometimes used to measure distances within the Universe. "Nothing comes close to what Gaia will release". Knowing the precise distances of stars of this type in the Milky Way makes them useful as yardsticks for measuring distances to galaxies much farther away. "The precision of the proper motions measured by Gaia is what really makes it so revolutionary", says Allyson Sheffield, an astrophysicist at LaGuardia Community College, who was not involved in the project. But, he adds, "at face value, the tension is still there". Variety - we have the image in depth, we have the image in the sky, we have the distance, the most hard parameter for astronomers, which makes GAIA exceptional, and marks a real date, a real turning point in the astronomy of the Milky Way, and probably the knowledge of the universe.

An update, launched at the ILA worldwide air and space show in Berlin, adds stars and provides more data on each one, from measurements taken over 22 months in 2014-2016.

IPL 2018, MI vs SRH: Rohit Sharma wins toss, opts to bowl
After batting first, Hyderabad batsmen failed to shine and could just post 119 runs in their 20 overs. They restricted Punjab to just 92/8 in their 20 overs and won the match by a margin of 24 runs.

In 2016, Gaia released some initial results but that was just a tease compared with Wednesday's massive data dump.

Gaia's two optical telescopes and three scientific instruments can also measure stellar brightness, temperature and composition. Some researchers expect to discover tens of thousands of exoplanets by watching stars wobble under their planets' gravitational pull - but the probe must collect several years' more data for these motions to become apparent. This very large data set has to have all the changing satellite and sky responses removed, and everything converted on to a well-defined scale of brightness and color. Others will inspect similar wobbles in search of evidence of the passage of gravitational waves.

Hundreds of scientists and software engineers took years to process the data and create a catalogue of stars from which they were able to generate maps, including of the asteroids in our solar system and even a three-dimensional chart of some nearby stars.

The GAIA mission isn't over, either.


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