Author Archives: mareike

Gaia discovers its first supernova

While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away. This powerful event, now named Gaia14aaa, took place in...

Gaia calibration
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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,...

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High-speed Gaia

From cleanroom to liftoff, watch an incredible time-lapse movie of Gaia’s final preparations on Earth before shooting for the stars.      

Journey to a billion suns

A new planetarium show, Journey to a billion Suns, premieres today in Hamburg, Germany, to tell the fascinating story of mapping the Milky Way, from ancient times to ESA’s recently launched Gaia mission. Watch the trailer: Read...

Gaia liftoff – watch replay highlights

Watch the replay highlights of today’s webcast of ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia launching into space. Lift off took place at 09:12 GMT / 10:12 CET this morning. This video includes highlights of the launch webcast including lift-off from Kourou, the Soyuz mission, separation of Gaia and the successful entry into orbit. Like to see the entire webcast replay? Access the full video in the ESA website.

Gaia launch set for 19 December

The checks on the Gaia satellite are proceeding well, enabling the launch to take place on Thursday, 19 December. The exact time of launch is 09:12:18 UTC (10:12:18 CET), which is 06:12:18 local time in French Guiana.

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Guide to our Galaxy

Take a virtual journey through the Milky Way! This virtual journey shows the different components that make up our home galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains about a hundred billion stars. It starts at the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and with the stars that orbit around it, before zooming out through the central Galactic Bulge, which hosts about ten billion stars. The journey continues through a younger population of stars in the stellar disc, home to most of the Milky Way’s stars, and which is embedded in a slightly larger gaseous disc. Stars in the disc are arranged in a spiral arm pattern and orbit the centre...

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Mapping the Milky Way with Gaia

Latest ESA Euronews video looks at Gaia and explains how it will scan the sky with powerful new eyes, mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented detail.

Gaia: launch postponed

Due to recently-discovered technical issues with a separate satellite, ESA has decided to perform additional precautionary verifications on its Gaia satellite. Therefore we have requested that Arianespace postpone the Gaia launch, currently scheduled for November 20, 2013. More details will be given as soon as they are available and the new launch date will be announced when the timeline for completing the additional work has been confirmed. Updated 29 October: The upcoming launch manifest of Arianespace has now been established. Gaia is scheduled for launch on 20 December. For additional information on the postponement, see latest update on the ESA Portal.