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Shaken up: Gaia DR2 and the warped Milky Way disc

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The Gaia satellite mission and its follow-up surveys are revolutionizing our picture of the Milky Way and Galactic dynamics in more ways than we imagined. However, since we are not used to dealing with very large datasets, they are also very dangerous to the field, since systematic errors are easily mistaken as physical features. I will spend the first part of my talk showing how we can get on top of the systematic errors in the survey and line-out how the data set can be reasonably used. In the second half I will try to depict what we have learned about the warp of the Galactic disc. Over the past couple of years the paradigm has evolved from the simple warp formerly observed in the Galactic gas and stars, to an intriguing wave pattern that appears to connect wrinkles in the solar neighbourhood to giant wave-crests of several kpc height in the far outer disc that can explain observations like the Monoceros stream.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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