Gaia Satellite, an ambitious project to study the Milky Way
The Gaia Satellite is an instrument developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) for in-depth space studies. Weighing 2 tons, the satellite was launched from the Cauro space center in French Guiana on December 19, 2013 to reach Lagrange L2 point, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. At this distance, Guy has a particularly convenient location from which to peer into space. And an area of space that allows it to benefit from a stable thermal environment.
Read more: Gaia provides the first volume of the Galactic Encyclopedia
Guy’s primary mission is to identify the more than 2 billion stars in the Milky Way. Satellites measure many parameters for these celestial objects Their position, their distance from the earth, like their movements. As well as their physical features with extreme precision.
To do this, Gaia is equipped with a scientific device with a focal plane to obtain images with a resolution of up to 938 million pixels. For spectrophotometers, it operates in the wavelength range of 330 to 680 nm and from 640 to 1050 nm. The spectrograph makes it possible to observe objects up to 18 levels in the range of ionized calcium lines between 845 and 872 nm.
The Gaia Satellite transmits an estimated huge amount of data at 50 gigabytes per day. After a while, this accumulated data is analyzed and combined to create a catalog containing a lot of information. The third catalog just released includes the largest binary star catalog, as well as information on thousands of galaxy objects. But also external objects, including valuable data from quasars and other galaxies.
Swing like a starcomp
This is the most amazing fact published in this third catalog from Gaia Satellite. He detected a faint motion like the vibration on the surface of a star. These movements change the shape of the star and create a tsunami on the surface. These powerful star vibrations have been discovered on thousands of stars.
Another discovery highlighted in Gaia’s third data catalog relates to the formation of stars. Astronomers have just discovered that the chemical composition of a star can be considered as its “DNA” by providing information about its origin.
When the universe was formed 13 billion years ago, only light elements such as hydrogen and helium were formed. Heavy elements such as metals appeared in the very core of the star. When they die, these metallic elements spread through the interstellar. New stars are also created from this medium. Increasingly rich in metal they are leading. The sun, which brings its heat and light to the earth, consists of 73% hydrogen, 25% helium, and a small percentage of various elements. Including iron, silicon and magnesium. These last elements signify that our sun has been enriched by stars of many generations before it.
Read more: Gaia Mission: Astronomers are already thinking about the future!
Mysterious macromolecules, quasars and galaxies published by Gaia Satellite
Gaia is the most advanced and powerful space telescope designed by ESA engineers. Billions of stars needed to be ‘photographed’! It has made it possible to create a new catalog of scientific instruments The latter lists the orbital properties of more than 800,000 systems consisting of binary stars.
The Gaia satellite provides important information about the radial velocity of a stellar object. That is the speed at which more than 30 million objects in the Milky Way are approaching or moving away from us.
Gaia provided us with information on more than 156,000 asteroids and other rocky objects traveling through our solar system. Not to mention the discovery of mysterious macromolecules “in the stars”. Gaia also reveals information about 10 million variable stars, quasars and galaxies.
“Unlike other missions that target specific objects, Gaia is a survey mission,” explains Timo Prousti, a scientist working on the Gaia project at ESA. “This means that with so many times surveying the entire sky with billions of stars, Gaia is forced to discover that other missions will be missed. It’s one of its strengths, and we can’t wait for the astronomy community to dive into our new data to learn more about our galaxy and its surroundings. “
ESA’s Gaia mission has determined the orbits of 154,741 asteroids in our solar system. The telescope will remain in operation until 2025, when it will run out of fuel.
Credit: ESA / Gaia / DPAC pic.twitter.com/jCHk61TQku
– Erica (@_AstroErika) June 13, 2022
Read more: 1.8 billion stars measured by Gaia: “We’ll make incredible discoveries in a few months”
Source: “Gaya has seen strange stars in the most detailed Milky Way survey to date”. European Space Agency, 13/06/2022, https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Gaia/Gaia_sees_strange_stars_in_most_detailed_Milky_Way_survey_to_date