#FirstVideo: Gaia seen in space

Last night, Nick James, based in the UK, captured some fantastic views of Gaia as it departed Earth en route to L2, about 1.5 million km away from Earth opposite the Sun. The video acquired at about 01:00 GMT this morning.

(Editor’s note: Several other very good images have just been shared and we’ll get them posted as soon as possible.)

Well done, Nick! And thanks for sharing!

Nick wrote:

Time lapse movie of the Gaia spacecraft taken using a C11 telescope and an ST9XE CCD camera. Each frame is a 5-second exposure and the animation is played at 25 fps. At the time the images were taken, Gaia was around 158 000 km away about 16 hours after launch. The field of view is 13 arcminutes square.

Nick got his great shots from his back-garden observatory in Chelmsford, Essex, around 50km NE of central London. Thanks, Nick!



  • Torgeir says:

    Well done Nick.
    Wonderful observation there!
    Would you have any idea of the magnitude of Gaia.
    Some had assumed around magnitude 12, meaning 18 in L2.
    I hope it’s brighter!


  • Mark Tiddens says:

    Why isn’t there more information, especially about the critical events such as “About 27 hours after liftoff, Gaia will perform a careful thruster burn for around 30 minutes to set course to its L2 orbital destination.” and “December 20-22, teams at ESOC will switch on and check out onboard systems, including navigation gyroscopes and startrackers, and data systems, and route maximum power to the telescope’s decontamination heaters to protect the instrument as the spacecraft cools.”

  • KD says:

    Looking for info, I just found a tweet from ESA “Gaia clock and memory on, everything fine” : thanks ! And congratulations, once again …

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