top of page

Gaia: science highlights

I have selected 30 topics which I consider to be some of the highlights of Gaia's scientific discoveries to date. It's more to help orient anyone hoping for an overview of the science being carried out by this space mission. Of course it reflects some personal tastes, as well as the literature that I have read. 

I've divided the topics into four main areas (solar system; stellar structure and evolution; Galaxy content and structure; large-scale structure and cosmology), and the numbers in braces point to (but not hyperlinked to!) my essays where I go into more details.

I'd be pleased to receive suggestions as to other astrophysical results or scientific highlights that could be listed.


Meanwhile, here's my selection, as of June 2023

Solar system:
   - occultations enabled by accurate star and solar system positions [24, 137]
   - characterisation of solar system objects [64]
   - light deflection by Jupiter [104]
   - identification of interstellar travellers [25] and stellar flybys [35]
Stellar structure and evolution:
   - crystallisation of white dwarfs [42, 108]
   - radiative/convective transition in M dwarfs [42]
   - twin binaries [138]
   - stellar rotation of 3 million stars [103]
   - white dwarf surveys [29] 
   - hypervelocity stars [22]
   - nearby black holes [101]
   - understanding quadruple star systems [139]
   - variability across the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram [62]


Galaxy content and structure:
   - characterisation of nearby stars: the 25 pc [129] and 100 pc [33] samples
   - characterisation of halo streams [15, 71]
   - the Gaia phase-space spiral [117]                
   - the Hercules stream [115]
   - a dynamical distance to the Galactic centre [111]
   - earliest structure in our Galaxy's "heart" [102]
   - deceleration of the Galaxy bar [112]
   - the Gould Belt and the Radcliffe Wave [127]
   - survey of diffuse interstellar bands [92]
   - measurement of Galactic aberration [32]            
   - the distance to Omega Centauri [40]
   - tidal tails of open clusters [13, 20] and globular clusters [109]
Large-scale structure and cosmology:
   - the motion of globular clusters [30] and dwarf spheroidals [31]
   - mapping of the Magellanic Clouds [38]
   - contribution to the Hubble constant from Cepheids [44]
   - contribution to the "plane-of-satellites" problem [118]
   - contribution to the "core-cusp" problem [128]    

bottom of page