Gaia media: a selection

 

I've included just a few images related to the Gaia satellite, and to the data processing

(the ESA www pages have many more)

along with some of the early scientific and technical meetings.

[For the gallery images, double click for the slide viewer; navigate with left/right arrows; captions are given below them]

Assembling the M1 mirror on the silicon carbide torus (EADS Astrium)
Assembling the M1 mirror on the silicon carbide torus (EADS Astrium)

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The CCD focal plane (ESA)
The CCD focal plane (ESA)

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Satellite Soyuz launch, French Guiana, 19 December 2013
Satellite Soyuz launch, French Guiana, 19 December 2013

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Assembling the M1 mirror on the silicon carbide torus (EADS Astrium)
Assembling the M1 mirror on the silicon carbide torus (EADS Astrium)

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The Gaia satellite under construction

Early Data Release 3 (Dec 2020): catalogue sky plots and statistics [a selection from the ESA archive]

Early Data Release 3: density counts
Early Data Release 3: density counts

Density counts for sources with a 5-parameter solution from EDR3 (Galactic coordinates). Densities range from around 100 (light blue) to some 10,000 (dark red) stars per square degree (ESA)

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Early Data Release 3: position errors
Early Data Release 3: position errors

Median right ascension error for sources with a 5-parameter solution from EDR3 (Galactic coordinates). These range from below 50 micro-arcseconds (dark blue) to about 300 micro-arcseconds (dark red) (ESA)

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Sky coverage due to the scanning law
Sky coverage due to the scanning law

Sky coverage from Data Release 1

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Early Data Release 3: density counts
Early Data Release 3: density counts

Density counts for sources with a 5-parameter solution from EDR3 (Galactic coordinates). Densities range from around 100 (light blue) to some 10,000 (dark red) stars per square degree (ESA)

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Hipparcos animations

Three 'historical' animations constructed from the Hipparcos catalogue results on the Hyades star cluster. The fields are 8 x 6 degrees. The first shows the proper motions extended over 60,000 years. The second shows a (looped) 'swing' video illustrating the (exaggerated) individual stellar parallaxes (with nearer stars oscillating more than the more distant). The third shows the combination of both proper motions and parallaxes, schematically illustrating how the relative stellar positions change with time. The same principles apply to the Gaia observations. The bright foreground star (moving 'downwards') is Aldeberan [Michael Perryman & Jos de Bruijne]

Three 'historical' animations constructed from the Hipparcos catalogue results on the Pleiades star cluster. The fields are 8 x 6 degrees. The first shows the proper motions extended over 150,000 years. The second shows a (looped) 'swing' video illustrating the (exaggerated) individual stellar parallaxes (with nearer stars oscillating more than the more distant). The third shows the combination of both proper motions and parallaxes, schematically illustrating how the relative stellar positions change with time [Michael Perryman & Jos de Bruijne]

Hipparcos stereo images

These two 'historic' stereo image pairs, constructed from the Hipparcos catalogue, hint at the information contained in the vast Gaia catalogue. They are designed for 'cross-eyed' viewing, with the left image placed to the right, and vice versa. The resulting stereo effect shows how the stars are really distributed in space. The areas of the sky covered are eight by six degrees for each. Sizes are shown according to the star brightnesses, and the colours reflect their temperatures, with white corresponding to hotter stars, and red to cooler.

 

To view the stereo pairs, concentrate on the images from a distance of around arm's length, although a little closer or further might work better. The idea is to focus the eyes on the page, but to `cross' the eyes so that the right eye looks at the left image, and vice versa. Give some time for the two images to merge into one, and bear in mind that the bright stars in both fields are in the foreground, such that they will be seen `hanging' in front of the paper. Once you have figured out the effect, which may take some minutes the first time, it can usually be repeated again rather easily.

The Hyades star cluster lies at a distance of about 40 parsec or about 130 light-years. The brightest star, just to the above left of centre, is the foreground star Aldebaran.

hyades-stereo-crossed.jpg

The Pleiades star cluster lies at a distance of about 125 parsec or about 400 light-years.

pleiades-stereo-crossed.jpg

Launch videos: Hipparcos and Gaia

Hipparcos launch (Ariane 4, French Guiana, 8 August 1989)

Gaia launch (Soyuz-Fregat,

French Guiana, 19 December 2013)

Scientific and project meetings

Some of the scientific and project meetings from my own collection, taken during the development of Hipparcos and Gaia. 

This is a selection between 2001–2003.

DSCN0750
DSCN0750

Inspecting the first GDAAS results, CESCA, Barcelona, 2 Oct 2001

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DSCN1171
DSCN1171

Gaia Photometry Working Group meeting, Barcelona, 28 Nov 2001

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DSCN4868

Variability and Alerts Working Group (Wyn Evans), Nice, 12 Dec 2003

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DSCN0750

Inspecting the first GDAAS results, CESCA, Barcelona, 2 Oct 2001

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01-DSCN4921
01-DSCN4921

Gaia Science Team Meeting #10, Torino: first CCD image (Andrew Holland), 23 Jan 2004

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02-DSCN4928
02-DSCN4928

Ground verification final presentation, ESTEC, 3 Feb 2004

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47-DSCN0687
47-DSCN0687

The initial ESAC team (Uwe Lammers, José Hernandez, John Hoar, Wil O'Mullane), Madrid, 28 Nov 2005

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01-DSCN4921

Gaia Science Team Meeting #10, Torino: first CCD image (Andrew Holland), 23 Jan 2004

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 And others between 2004–2005.