Airbus Defence and Space

Gaia – on its way to the stars!

The data from Gaia’s three instruments (taking astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic measurements) should provide a pinpoint location for each star mapped with an error margin of only six microarcseconds, equivalent a penny on the surface of the moon, as viewed from Earth.

It will conduct a census of a billion stars in our galaxy, monitoring each of its target stars about 100 times over a five-year period, precisely charting their distances, movements, and changes in brightness. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and failed stars called brown dwarfs. Within our own solar system, Gaia should also identify tens of thousands of asteroids.

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