Images help scientists to determine the formation and evolution of the galaxy and the Universe

The latest version of the Gaia catalogue, a mission from the European Space Agency (ESA), presents new information about almost two billion stars in the Milky Way, as well as the observation of new stars.

In a press conference, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher considered that today “is a very important day”, which has been expected “for a long time”, highlighting that this map “will open doors to a new science in the Milky Way”. “.

Gaia is an ESA mission, launched in 2013, which aims to create a multidimensional map of the Milky Way that will help astronomers reconstruct the evolution of the galaxy.

The new map adds information about the chemical composition, temperature, color, mass, age and speed with which the stars are approaching or moving away.

The information was gathered using spectroscopy, a technique that breaks down starlight and reveals its DNA.

Based on this same chemical composition, it is possible to conclude, for example, that some stars, such as the Sun, contain matter enriched by several generations of stars and that the stars closer to the center of the Milky Way are richer in metals than the stars. that are further away.

The catalog also identified stars that initially belonged to other galaxies and presented the evolution of more than 800,000 binary systems and the study of 156,000 asteroids, as well as data on 10 million variable stars and macromolecules between stars.

The data in question were collected between 25 July 2014 and 28 May 2017.

Along with this data, fifty scientific articles are published, nine of which are dedicated to explaining the potential of the information collected by Gaia.

This mission has a billion-pixel camera, two optical telescopes and a spectrometer, among other equipment.

Initially scheduled to last until 2019, this project, which has more than 450 scientists and engineers, was extended until 2023.

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