van Leeuwen, Floor Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
- What will be measured
- Need for the data
- How measurements will be performed
- Mission sequence and schedule
- Mission operations
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
December 19, 2013 saw the launch of Gaia (Fig. 1), a very special satellite designed to measure the positions of around a billion stars and other objects in the sky with unimaginable accuracy. It will do so over a period of at least 5 years, deriving crucial information on the distances and motions of stars from the changes in those positions. Those data will, among other purposes, allow astronomers to build a much improved map of our Milky Way Galaxy, its current state, and its formation history. The Gaia satellite is a Cornerstone Mission of the European Space Agency and follows in the footsteps of the successful Hipparcos mission, which took place in the early 1990s.
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