This Is The Most Accurate Map Of The Sky To Date, Showing 1.7 Billion Stars -

This Is The Most Accurate Map Of The Sky To Date, Showing 1.7 Billion Stars

Sometimes you know exactly what you’re going to see and it still blows your mind. That’s what the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia satellite can do with its billion-pixel camera.

Today (April 25), the Gaia team has released its second iteration of the most-detailed map of the stars in this corner of the Milky Way galaxy, with many previously unseen details of our celestial neighborhood.
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Gaia Spacecraft was launched in 2013, and three years later its first detailed map was produced. It showed the location and brightness of 1.14 billion stars, and the distances and motions of 2 million. The latest release is a “huge leap forward” according to Anthony Brown of Leiden University (LU), one of 450 scientists and engineers on the Gaia project. It has the location and brightness of 1.7 billion stars, with the distances and motions of 1.3 billion.

The database contains other information: Color changes of 500,000 stars, relative speeds of 7 million stars, the effect of interstellar dust on 87 million, and the surface temperature for 100 million of them. It also has information on fourteen thousand (14,000) known asteroids, which will help improve our ability to track them.

Astronomers are already are making discoveries that would not have been possible without Gaia’s precise gaze. For instance, scientists have used the map to create a version of the so-called Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, which can help scientists improve their understanding of the evolution of galaxies. “Even in the neighborhood of the Sun, which is the region we thought we understood best, Gaia is revealing new and exciting features,” Timo Prusti, an ESA scientist, said in a statement.

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