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Gaia: ESA's next big astrophysics mission

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We all look at the Milky way (street lights permitting) but what is it that we see? How far away are the stars? How big is everything? How fast are stars moving? Are there really lots of potentially killer asteroids? What else is out there which doesn’t shine? Where did it all come from?

The European Space Agency mission Gaia will give us the first ever 3-dimensional census of our home Galaxy, the Milky Way, and start to provide answers to those questions. And no doubt raise many new questions.

The heart of Gaia is a camera with 106 large e2v CCD sensors, while the mission avionics were built by Astrium Stevenage. Gerry Gilmore is UK Principal Investigator for the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis consortium, will introduce the mission, the satellite, its science, and explain how the public and schools will be involved in original scientific research with gaia’s real-time discoveries.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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