Europe Has Added 1.1 Billion Stars to Its Milky Way Map


An annotated version of Gaia's sky map. Image: ESA/Gaia/DPAC
An annotated version of Gaia’s sky map. Image: ESA/Gaia/DPAC
The European Space Agency (ESA) has released the first batch of data from its Gaia star mapping project—a mission that is currently on track to chart one billion stars in the Milky Way.

By Ben Sullivan | MOTHERBOARD

The space telescope launched in 2013 and its first data dump contains the precise celestial position and brightness of a mammoth 1,142 million stars. The release also contains the distances and movements for more than two million stars so far.

ESA’s director of science Alvaro Giménez told a press conference held at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Spain on Wednesday morning that the data release features around 490 billion astrometric, 118 billion photometric, and 10 billion spectroscopic measurements.

“[The] Final survey will contain [around] 250,000 Solar System Objects, 1,000,000 galaxies, and 500,000 quasars,” said Giménez.

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