Gaia is a satellite by the European Space Agency (ESA), which main goal is to make the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy by surveying a billion stars (about one per cent of its population) with an unprecedented precision in position (of the order of microarcsecond, equivalent to distinguish a coin located on the surface of the Moon from Earth) and motion. The astrophysical parameters of the stars (temperature, size, composition, …) will also be obtained thanks to photometric measurements. With all these data, Gaia will be able to clarify the structure, formation and evolution of our Galaxy.
Our team at the University of Barcelona has contributed to the mission since the beginning. More information on UB team in gaia.ub.edu:
The American Astronomical Society awarded to "The Gaia Collaboration" its 2023 Lancelot M. Berkeley New York Community trust prize for meritorious work in astronomy for enabling a transformative multidimensional map of the Milky Way. Since its launch in 2013, the European Space Agency has recorded stellar positions, distances, colors and proper motions for nearly two billion stars. Its three data releases will long be regarded as major events in the history of astronomy, triggering a global partnership to better understand the origin, structure, and destiny of our home galaxy.
Here I attach some videos we developed to explain the mission that were granted with the prize "Ciencia en Acción" to the best documentary in 2013 in which I participated as script writter:
In the following video I explain (from minute 7:09) how we use Marenostrum supercomputer to develop our Gaia research:
And here I explain (in spanish with english subtitles) the first Gaia published in September 14th 2016:
We have also developed a mobile App to explain the mission. You can download it using these QR codes:
Here you have a comic strip explaining Gaia (in spanish):