Here’s what scientists have so far

Here’s what scientists have so far

In addition to the amazing world of spaceflight, groundbreaking satellites and stunning moon landings, ESA is focused on one critical mission. It is simply “to create the most accurate and complete multi-dimensional map of the Milky Way”.

This ambitious venture is called Gaia, and in recent years, the European Space Agency has made solid progress towards realizing the dream. The collaborating scientists have collected an incredible amount of data on the more than 1 billion stars in our galaxy and recorded all the interesting details along the way.

On Monday, the You team encountered a huge checkpoint for the project.

Luckily for us, he’s also released some great skins, including the cosmic secret chests he’s collected so far. This particular milestone is officially known as the Gaia 3 data release — and more importantly, it’s what the European Space Agency calls “the most detailed survey of the Milky Way to date.”

In this dataset, you can see not only thousands of solar system objects such as asteroids, moons, and other celestial wonders within our galaxy, but millions of galaxies and phenomena. outside Milky Way.

Image of asteroids in the solar system on June 13, 2022.

The location of each asteroid was plotted at 12:00 CEST on June 13, 2022. Blue represents the inner solar system, asteroids approaching Earth, transiting Mars, and terrestrial planets. The main belt between Mars and Jupiter is green. The orange “cloud” corresponds to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid.

P. Tanga (Côte d’Azur Observatory)

When you look at the statistics for that survey, it’s truly jaw-dropping. This new wealth of galactic intelligence includes about 6.6 million candidate red-shifted quasars, also known as ultrabright jets, that occupy supermassive black holes and may occupy their exact locations. It includes 4.8 million candidate galaxies, nearly 813,000 multiple star systems, 2.3 million hot stars, and more.

Timo Prosti, ESA’s Gaia program scientist, said in a statement.

Map with glowing dots representing galaxies and cosmic clouds.

The Large Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud appear as bright spots in the lower right corner of the image. Arc dwarf galaxies appear as a faint semi-vertical band below the galaxy center.

ESA/Gaia/DPAC/CU6, D. Katz, N. Leclerc, P. Sartoretti and the CU6 team.

some interstellar surprises

According to the team, one of the most surprising findings from the Gaia 3 data release was a strange phenomenon called a “starquake.”

Stellar quakes are basically what they sound like — tiny movements on a star’s surface that can change its shape or shape. Some of these ESA earthquakes are compared to the vibrations we associate with “massive tsunamis” on Earth.

“Earthquakes teach us a lot about stars, especially their inner workings. Gaia has opened up a gold mine for large-scale stellar science,” Connie Aerts, a member of the Gaia Collaboration at KU Leuven, Belgium, said in a statement.

Seismology of stars is what seismology means to Earth, the study of earthquakes and other forms of wave propagation. A summary of the stellar seismic portion of the new Gaia data is shown below.

Another surprising discovery is that the Gaia Binary Telescope – with a massive 1-gigapixel camera – can reveal the chemical composition of the star being studied. This is a big thing that could revolutionize the field of astronomy.

In short, knowing the exact chemical details of astral bodies can help us decipher when they were born, where they were born, and the paths they took after they were born. It can reveal the timeline of the universe.

Using the new Gaia data, the team found that some stars have heavier elements than others. The heaviest elements are usually metals and are distinguished from lighter elements because they have different core structures.

Photograph the stars of the mineral-rich Milky Way.

This full sky view shows a sample of the Milky Way’s stars in the Gaia 3 data release. Colors indicate stellar mineralization. Red stars are rich in minerals.


But the point here is that, as far as experts know, the lightest elements are thought to be the only species that existed during the Big Bang. Essentially, this means that the Gaia 3 data release provides direct evidence of the super-diverse population of stars in our galaxy, when and where they originated.

“This diversity is important because it tells the story of our galaxy’s formation,” Gaia member Alejandra Recio Blanco, from the French Côte d’Azur Observatory, said in a statement. “Revelation of migration processes within our galaxy and accumulation in exogalaxies.”

A sky map showing the speed of stars in the Milky Way.

This sky map shows the velocity fields of the Milky Way’s roughly 26 million stars. Blue shows the part of the sky where the stars are moving on average towards us, while red shows where the average motion is moving away from us.

ESA/Gaia/DPAC/CU6, O. Snaith, D. Katz, P. Sartoretti, N. Leclerc and the CU6 team.

Going a step further, the effort to showcase Gaia reminds us of our place in the universe. Mapping distant regions beyond the immediate vicinity of the Earth inevitably brings a human presence to the fore.

In the words of Licio Blanco, “this clearly shows that our sun, and therefore we all belong to a changing system, arose as a result of a combination of stars and gas of different origins”.

Other fascinating sightings at Gaia include more than 800 binary star systems, which refer to two stars orbiting each other rather than our solar system’s single sun, and a new asteroid survey of 156,000 rocky objects.

Multicolor representation of asteroids in the Milky Way.

This image shows the orbits of more than 150,000 asteroids – from the inner solar system to the Trojan asteroid near Jupiter. The yellow circle in the middle represents the sun. Blue represents the inner solar system, where there are asteroids close to Earth and transiting Mars and terrestrial planets. The main belt between Mars and Jupiter is green. Jupiter’s red Trojan horse.

P. Tanga (Côte d’Azur Observatory)

“We can’t wait for the astronomical community to dig into our new data to discover more about our galaxy and its surroundings than we thought,” Prostie said.

As for what’s next for Gaia, the team intends to continue the effort, which will be the pinnacle of our galactic knowledge.

Represents our position in the Milky Way.

This image shows an artist’s impression of the Milky Way, with the overlay above showing the location and density (yellow and green) of a sample of young stars from the Gaia 3 data release. The “you are here” sign refers to the sun.

ESA / Kevin Jardine, Stefan Payne-Wardenaar

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