Linktipp #27: Gaia Maps 1.7 Billion Stars, Widens Cosmic Census

How many stars are out there – and how far are they from us? We’ll probably never know the whole picture, but we now have a much clearer idea for our cosmic neighborhood. On April 25th, European astronomers published the most extensive and precise star catalog ever made.

A graphical representation of Gaia’s all-sky data on the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars. Image: Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) / A. Moitinho / A. F. Silva / M. Barros / C. Barata (Univ. of Lisbon, Portugal) / H. Savietto (Fork Research, Portugal)
A graphical representation of Gaia’s all-sky data on the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars. Image: Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) / A. Moitinho / A. F. Silva / M. Barros / C. Barata (Univ. of Lisbon, Portugal) / H. Savietto (Fork Research, Portugal)

Containing data from 22 months of observation by their Gaia satellite, the second data release (dubbed DR2) consists of precise parallaxes (and thus distances) for more than 1.3 billion stars in our local part of the Milky Way, as well as positions and brightnesses of almost 1.7 billion stars total. That’s a huge leap compared to the mission’s first data release in 2016… weiter bei Sky&Telescope!

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