Gaia: The Galactic Census Takes Shape

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The Gaia satellite has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy.

The first data release from Gaia, based on just over one year of observations, was published in 2016; it contained distances and motions of two million stars. The new data release, which covers the 22 months between July 2014 and May 2016, pins down the positions of nearly 1.7 billion stars, and with much greater precision. For some of the brightest stars in the survey, the level of precision equates to Earth-bound observers being able to spot a Euro coin lying on the surface of the Moon.

ESA Gaia Research

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