[1105.6166] The European Space Agency {\Gaia} mission: exploring the Galaxy

Authors: C. Jordi

Date: 31 May 2011

Abstract: The {\Gaia} astrometric mission was approved by the European Space Agency in 2000 and the construction of the spacecraft and payload is on-going for a launch in late 2012. {\Gaia} will continuously scan the entire sky for 5 years, yielding positional and velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce a stereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars throughout our Galaxy and beyond. The main scientific goal is to quantify early formation and the subsequent dynamic and chemical evolution of the Milky way. The stellar survey will have a completeness to $V = 20$ mag, with a precision of about 25 $\mu$as at 15 mag. The astrometric information will be combined with astrophysical data acquired through on-board spectrophotometry and spectroscopy, allowing the chemical composition and age of the stars to be derived. Data acquired and processed as a result of the {\Gaia} mission are estimated to amount to about 1 petabyte. One of the challenging problems is the close relationship between astrometric and astrophysical data, which involves a global iterative solution that updates instruments parameters, the attitude of the satellite, and the properties of the observed objects. The European community is organized to deal with {\Gaia} products: (a) the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium is a joint European effort in charge of preparation and execution of data processing, (b) the GREAT network is a platform for collaboration on the preparation of scientific exploitation.

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Jun 01, 2011

1105.6166 (/preprints)
2011-06-01, 11:53 [edit]

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