Press Release

Artistic representation of the Gaia satellite. Credits: ESA / ATG medialab; ESO / S. Brunier

Astronomical community expectation for new Gaia data

Source: Universitat de Barcelona
Published on 01.12.2020

 

This Thursday, December 3, at 12 noon, the European Space Agency (ESA) will make a new data release from the Gaia mission with more than 1.8 billion observed objects. This is one of the great milestones expected by the astronomical community worldwide.

The different teams that make up the Gaia project will organize scientific seminars to explain the first obtained results and the lessons learned with the Gaia data, as well as a breakthrough in science that is beginning to appear. Data Processing and Analysis Consortium team (DPAC), which brings together more than 400 experts, is organizing an online meeting aimed at the scientific community, which will be coordinated by members of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB).

Getting to know Gaia better: disseminative conference and memory game

On the same day, December 3, at 7 p.m., there will be an informative conference aimed at the general public, given by ICCUB researchers Josep Manel Carrasco and Mercè Romero. In the conference, they will explain how astronomy is revolutionizing the Gaia satellite, which provides unpublished clues about the origin and evolution of our galaxy, the Milky Way. They will describe the mission and explain Gaia’s strategy to observe the Universe by analysing the latest discoveries.

Also, the ICCUB team has created a Gaia memory game, which can be downloaded and printed, or played online. The twenty images in the game correspond to the space mission and are accompanied by descriptive texts.

Participation of the Barcelona team

TheICCUB team(UB-IEEC), led by Professor Carme Jordi and professors Xavier Luri and Francesca Figueras, from the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics, has participated in the Gaia mission from the beginning. Their role was focused on the scientific and technological design of the project, the development of the data processing system and the production of simulated data.

Regarding the now presented data, the Barcelona team coordinates the group that has developed the archive of the mission. It is also responsible for running several key processes for processing the data that arrives daily from the satellite, the first step in obtaining results for scientific use such as those now published. The group is also responsible for the process of pairing the various observations of the same star, and it collaborates in the calibration of star photometry and is fully involved in the scientific exploitation of the data. Finally, the Catalan researchers have played an important role in the performance verification papers, articles that are published together with the data and which verify their quality. Specifically, they have led four of these articles and have played a significant part in much of the rest.

The ICCUB Gaia team (UB-IEEC), made up of about thirty scientists and engineers, was awarded the 2013 City of Barcelona Award for Experimental Sciences and Technology. It is part of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, made up of more than 400 people from around twenty European countries, and leads the creation of the archive of the mission. Some of its members are part of the Gaia Science Team (GST), the ESA scientific advisory body.