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Space EU

Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the its-full-of-stars dept.
mrspoonsi writes "BBC Reports: 'Europe has launched the Gaia satellite — one of the most ambitious space missions in history. The 740m-euro (£620m) observatory lifted off from the Sinnamary complex in French Guiana at 06:12 local time (09:12 GMT). Gaia is going to map the precise positions and distances to more than a billion stars. This should give us the first realistic picture of how our Milky Way galaxy is constructed. Gaia's remarkable sensitivity will lead also to the detection of many thousands of previously unseen objects, including new planets and asteroids. Gaia will use this ultra-stable and supersensitive optical equipment to pinpoint its sample of stars with extraordinary confidence. By repeatedly viewing its targets over five years, it should get to know the brightest stars' coordinates down to an error of just seven micro-arcseconds. "This angle is equivalent to the size of a euro coin on the Moon as seen from Earth," explained Prof Alvaro Gimenez, Esa's director of science.'"
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Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

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  • by idji (984038) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:44AM (#45744097)
    This is a EUROPEAN satellite, and so a EURO is very appropriate.
    Yes, the Europeans are going back to fundamental mapping of what is out there, like James Cook, Galileo, Johannes Kepler.

    Onwards to L2 Gaia!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2013 @07:14AM (#45744343)
    Wow, what a sweeping generalization. Most people around here (NW-Europe) appreciate americans. It seems to me the ones spewing ideological rants about the US, are those who never worked with/visited/befriended americans. We do, however, scratch our heads at your fervent opposition to social security, as this could really boost the productivity and prosperity of your middle class. That middle class which could probably generate more demand than your beloved 1%.
  • Re:Total map size (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:16AM (#45744539)
    What you say is very true...

    Anyone who doubts this should go to YouTube and search for "Hubble Ultra Deep Field".

    Amazing video...

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