‘Go’ for science

Following the extensive in-orbit commissioning review and after encountering the unexpected challenges highlighted previously on the blog, Gaia is now ready to begin its science mission. Read the announcement published today on the ESA Portal: Gaia: 'Go'...


Asteroids at the “photo finish”

Today's Gaia blog post is contributed by Paolo Tanga, Associate Astronomer at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice (France). We tend to think that a still picture, shot with an ordinary camera, represents a subject at...

Gaia RVS data for the star HIP86564.
Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC/Airbus DS

Commissioning the Radial Velocity Spectrometer

Guest blog post by George Seabroke, RVS Payload Expert, on behalf of the team commissioning the RVS instrument. The Radial Velocity Spectrometer (RVS) is one of three instruments onboard Gaia (see Figure 1). It is designed to...

Gaia BP/RP data for seven bright stars.
Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC/Airbus DS

Gaia takes science measurements

As part of the on-going commissioning tests, we are happy to be able to report on the first spectroscopy observations made by Gaia. You will have seen the ‘first light’ images from the early phases of commissioning...

Annotated diagram of the Gaia payload module. Click for more information.

Commissioning update

The Gaia project team provides an update on the ongoing commissioning activities of ESA’s billion star surveyor… The work done to bring online all components of the Gaia service module, which houses equipment needed for the basic...

Detecting sources with Gaia's Sky Mapper.
Credit: ESA

Detecting sources

As part of the ongoing commissioning activities of Gaia, the satellite’s Sky Mapper has briefly been used in a special mode to image a patch of the sky close to the Galactic plane (below). The job of...

Gaia tilt seen from Earth

Gaia tilt watched from Earth

As part of the tests to try and diagnose the stray light issue noticed in the first month of instrument commissioning, the Gaia operations team is making a series of spacecraft orientation changes. The spacecraft was first...

Gaia payload module integration

One month at L2

Gaia has been in its operational orbit around L2 for about a month now, where it is undergoing a very rigorous test programme before starting on its main science observations. Like many relocations, it can take some...

Gaia calibration

Gaia comes into focus

ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia is slowly being brought into focus. This test image shows a dense cluster of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. Once Gaia starts making routine measurements,...