European star survey reveals celestial treasure trove

European star survey reveals celestial treasure trove

BERLIN — The European Area Company launched a trove of information Monday on nearly 2 billion stars within the Milky Means, collected by its Gaia area observatory in an effort to create essentially the most correct and full map of our galaxy.

Astronomers hope to make use of the info to grasp higher how stars are born and die, and the way the Milky Means advanced over billions of years.

The brand new knowledge contains new info such because the age, mass, temperature and chemical composition of stars. This can be utilized, for instance, to find out which stars have been born in one other galaxy after which migrated to the Milky Means.

“That is an unbelievable gold mine for astronomy,” mentioned Antonella Vallenari, who helped lead a consortium of 450 scientists and engineers who spent years turning the measurements collected by the area probe into usable knowledge.

Gaia was additionally capable of detect greater than 100,000 starquakes, which the ESA likened to giant tsunamis that ripple throughout stars. They seem to make the celebs blink and permit scientists to infer their density, inside rotation and inside temperature, astrophysicist Conny Aerts mentioned.

Though it has solely collected info on about 1% of the Milky Means’s stars, the Gaia mission is already offering the premise for round 1,600 scientific publications a 12 months.

4 maps of the Milky Means made with new knowledge collected by the ESA area probe Gaia. EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY/AFP through Getty Photographs

This all-sky view reveals a pattern of the Milky Means stars in Gaia’s knowledge launch 3.AP

The darkish areas within the middle of the Galactic airplane in black are the areas with a number of interstellar mud fading to the yellow as the quantity of mud decreases.AP

Undertaking scientist Timo Prusti mentioned the sheer variety of stars noticed makes it extra probably that scientists will make very uncommon discoveries.

“You must observe a number of objects with the intention to get the needle within the haystack,” he mentioned.

ESA chief Josef Aschbacher mentioned having extra knowledge additionally permits astronomers to grasp a few of the forces at play within the galaxy, reminiscent of the way in which our personal photo voltaic system is being thrown about contained in the Milky Means.

“It’s enabling issues that will by no means be doable with out this huge variety of knowledge,” he mentioned.

The Gaia knowledge now being launched additionally contains info on 800,000 binaries — stars that transfer in tandem with one another — in addition to a number of new exoplanets, a whole lot of hundreds of asteroids within the photo voltaic system and thousands and thousands of objects past our galaxy.

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