The European Gaia spacecraft launched about a year ago with the ambitious goal of mapping one billion years in the Milky Way. That’s 1% of all the stars in our entire galaxy, which it will monitor about 70 times over its 5-year mission. If all goes well, we’ll learn an enormous amount about the structure, movements and evolution of the stars in our galaxy. It’ll even find half a million quasars.
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2 Replies to “Astronomy Cast Ep. 365: Gaia”
Would the Gaia study of star distribution within the galaxy refine to some extent the original reason to suppose dark matter had to exist, i.e. the non-Newtonian orbits of the stars within other galaxies? To my thinking, that Newtonian function has to be in conflict with the gravitational stasis dark matter is said to confer, and what better place to find the relationship than here in this galaxy. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
Someone, somewhere, is going to use this data to create a star-faring MMORPG with a scientifically accurate map of our galactic neighborhood.
Beware, Romulans (e.g.): we are only a successful Kick-starter campaign… plus one GAIA mission’s worth of results, of course… away from actively training for your demise at the hands of the Federation (e.g.)!
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