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Michael Perryman

Some contributions related to star positions, exoplanets, and recreational mathematics

My career has been as a scientist with the European Space Agency, leading the development of astrometry (the measurement of accurate star positions) from space. I was Project Scientist for the pioneering Hipparcos space astrometry mission, from its adoption by ESA in 1980 to its completion and catalogue publication in 1997, including overall responsibility for the project after launch. As one of the co-originators of the Gaia mission in 1993, I was the mission's study scientist until its acceptance by ESA in 2000, and subsequently its Project Scientist until my retirement from ESA in 2008.

Today, I am taking great pleasure in seeing the spectacular progress of the Gaia mission as it unfolds, and reading about its remarkable scientific results. Starting in 2021, I have been writing these summaries of some of the advances in astronomy flowing from it. They are a look back at what this long journey of space astrometry has achieved, and written in a form that I hope will be reasonably accessible to those not so deeply involved. And I have been interviewing some of the scientists and project leaders involved in these two space missions...

Since 2013 I have held a position as adjunct professor in the School of Physics, University College Dublin (UCD-hosted CV). A more recent CV is also included here.

Most recent essays (weekly) [see the Gaia essays page for the article link]:

22 Apr 2024 Gaia essay 173. The breathing motion of spiral arms

15 Apr 2024 Gaia essay 172. The Basic Angle

08 Apr 2024 Gaia essay 171. The Small Magellanic Cloud

01 Apr 2024 Gaia essay 170. Metrication in the UK

Most recent interviews (irregular) [see the project/science interview pages for the audio link]:

12 Dec 2023  Orlagh Creevey & Coryn Bailer-Jones talk about "DPAC Coordination Unit 8"

02 Nov 2023  Ulrich Bastian talks about "PPM, Hipparcos-Tycho, and Gaia"

12 Jul 2023    Frédéric Faye talks about "Gaia: industrial system engineering" [in two parts]

13 Oct 2022   Lennart Lindegren talks about "The Hipparcos mission"

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