The Gaia satellite, launched in December 2016 by the European Spatial Agency, is currently measuring more than one billion stars to deliver the largest and most precise ever 3D map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. By combining astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic observations, the position, distance, motion and physical properties of each star are determined, a fundamental dataset to study the composition of the Milky Way, its formation and evolution.
Gaia also observes hundreds thousands of quasars, the most distant objects of the Universe which define the reference system underlying the catalog, as well as more than one million galaxies in the local Universe. Gaia surveys a large variety of objects, like asteroids in the Solar System, exoplanets, brown and white dwarf stars, supernovae in faraway galaxies.
The first catalog of intermediate Gaia data, published in September 2016, already reveals excellent performances and the promise of upheavals in several astronomical topics. With some 400 other scientists across Europe, several members of LAB contribute to the very complex data processing pipeline producing the Gaia catalogs.
Contribution of LAB to the Gaia mission: http://www.oasu.u-bordeaux.fr/index.php/labellise/articles/GAIA.html
Gaia at CNES: https://gaia-mission.cnes.fr/fr/GAIA/Fr/index.htm
Gaia at ESA: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia
Scientific contact: Caroline Soubiran