Gaia Is Go!

Gaia, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) unmanned astrometry spacecraft has taken its first image.

As I told you before, Gaia’s mission is make a 3D space catalogue of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects.  It sounds like a lot, but that is only about 1% of the Milky Way!

File:Gaia observatory trajectory.svg

Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a period of five years from its L2 vantage point.

So what does a billion pixel image look like?


Pretty good for a warmup.  The final results should be spectacular.  Not the pictures (this isn’t that kind of mission), but the data collected giving us the accurate distances and relative motions of the tracked objects.  But some of the images may be spruced up a bit to make good copy.

And, if you remember my post from a few days ago, Gaia will be using parallax trigonometric techniques (like a parsec!) to measure the objects distance from us.  See! There is a madness to my method, or

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +