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Gaia Data Release set for 14 September

màxim ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia, launched on 19 December 2013, and in routine science operations since 25 July 2014, will release the first mission data on 14 September 2016.

Gaia is designed to map more than 1 billion stars in our Galaxy, and to provide positions, parallaxes and proper motions at an unprecedented accuracy level, far below a milliarcsecond. These accuracies can only be achieved after a complex data processing that requires observations taken throughout the 5-year nominal mission. For this reason, the final Gaia results will not be available until the early 2020s, but a number of early releases have been foreseen, based on increasingly longer stretches of observations.

The first Gaia data release, which will be available online on 14 September, will include the positions and G magnitude for about one billion stars using observations taken between 25 July 2014 and 16 September 2015.

In addition, for a subset of data – about 2 million stars in common between the Tycho-2 Catalogue and Gaia – there will be a five-parameter astrometric solution, giving the positions, parallaxes, and proper motions for those objects. This is referred to as the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS).

Photometric data for RR Lyrae and Cepheid variable stars that were observed frequently during a special scanning mode that repeatedly covered the ecliptic poles will also be made public.

The announcement of the date for this first Gaia data release was made today by Anthony Brown, Chair of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) Executive, during the GREAT Network Science Symposium at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science held in Athens, Greece. DPAC is a large pan-European team of expert scientists and software developers, including a contribution from ESA, that has been given the task of preparing for and producing the Gaia catalogues.

ICCUB participation in the Gaia mission

The Gaia UB team is composed by researchers from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC). The team has been involved in the Gaia mission since the very early phases. It has played a major role in the scientific and technological design of the instrumentation, database prototypes and data simulation. It has also developed a calibration algorithm of photometric data, and the system that will enable to daily process satellite’s data and store them in a database to later extract the first scientific results.

Furthermore, the group is developing tools for scientific exploitation, by means of data got from the Earth in order to complement those provided by Gaia. The Data Processing Center of Barcelona, which includes CESCA and the Barcelona Supercomputer Center, provides resources to carry out some operations throughout the mission and has been a necessary tool to carry out simulations in order to test the instrument.

News on the ESA website

Web about Gaia on ServiAstro

Website GaiaUB Group

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