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ESA: Gaia Telescope Prepares 3D Map of 1.1 Billion Stars

Sep 15, 2016 04:47 AM EDT
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By 2017, ESA's Gaia mission will be releasing the full data of the most detailed and most accurate 3D map of 1.1 billion stars.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA viaGetty Images)

Modern technology is helping mankind understand the universe better. With the European Space Agency's Gaia telescope, everyone can soon see the most detailed and most accurate 3D map of 1.1 billion stars.

The detailed 3D map composed of 1.1 billion stars will be completed using data from ESA's Gaia telescope and the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS). Giai is a mission to chart 3D to increase mankind's understanding of the Milky Way galaxy.

ESA believes that space is the final frontier and in order to understand the universe better, an accurate 3D map of the Milky Way galaxy will help. Reports say that the mission will be finished on time. Recently, ESA released the first data from Gaia mission that is available for download from ESA Gaia official website.

So far, the mission that was launched in 2013, has successfully collected 500 billion measurements, according to Fred Jansen mission manager of Gaia. Because of the rate the completion is going, and the accuracy of data, scientists are reported to be "extremely happy" with the result. The data is also being distributed to the scientific community for further analysis.

The mission is being completed using the 10-meter-wide spacecraft. Aboard Gaia are two telescopes. The instrument-heavy ESA spacecraft is slowly orbiting the Sun to gather more data. The completed 3D map of one billion stars that represents a total of one percent of stars within the Milky Way galaxy will be released before the end of 2017, according to a report by ABC News.

 But despite the unprecedented accuracy of Gaia, it will be a couple months more before the full 3D map will be completed. Anyone can see and study the data by Gaia; it is even encouraged by scientists to aid in major potential scientific discoveries.

"You're imaging the whole sky in basically [Hubble] space telescope quality and because you can now resolve all the stars that previously maybe looked as though they were merged as one star at low resolution - now we can see them," Anthony Brown from Leiden University said in a statement.

The mission already mapped more than what previous catalogs did and some of the mission proposers believe that Gaia is going to be a "revolution."


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