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, with Lennart Lindegren 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, which hosts a more complete CV.

Most recent essays (weekly):

16 May 2022  Gaia essay 72: The warp of our Galaxy

09 May 2022  Gaia essay 71: More halo streams from Gaia

02 May 2022  Gaia essay 70: The Local Bubble

Most recent interviews (irregular):

28 Apr 2022  Vincent Poinsignon talks about "The management of Gaia by industry"

20 Apr 2022  Rudolf Le Poole talks about "The Hipparcos years"

11 Mar 2022  Leslie Budd talks about "The socio-economic benefits of Gaia"