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Gaia - one billion objects in 3+ dimensions

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Gaia is the European Space Agency mission which is revolutionising our knowledge of our Milky Way Galaxy, providing a census of positions, motions, colours, and properties of 1.5 billion stars. Gaia’s data will revolutionise much of astronomy, from near-Earth asteroids, through stellar evolution, the structure, formation and evolution of our Milky Way Galaxy, the distribution of Dark Matter in the Milky Way, the number of planetary systems around other stars, the cosmological distance scale, and fundamental tests of General Relativity. In addition to the wealth of position data Gaia’s camera repeatedly scanning the sky discovers variable and new sources. These are published for follow up by professional astronomers and by amateur astronomers and school classes, using remotely controlled telescopes across the world. Gaia’s first major data release happened on Sept 14 2016. You can learn more, follow the mission, and download the app at https://gaia.ac.uk.

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

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