Europe launched Gaia satellite from French Guiana

Dec 20, 2013 11:11 IST

Gaia satelliteEurope on 19 December 2013 launched the Gaia satellite – one of the most ambitious space missions in the history. Gaia lifted on a Soyuz rocket from Europe's Spaceport from the Kourou in French Guiana at 6:12 local time. It will map the precise positions and distances to more than a billion stars.

This will give the first realistic picture of how the Milky Galaxy has been constructed and will also detect thousands of unseen objects like asteroids and new planets.

The satellite is carrying two telescopes that will throw light on to a huge, one billion-pixel camera detector connected to a trio of instruments. It has been developed to sample the ultra-stable and supersensitive optical equipment to pinpoint.

Gaia’s journey will take about a month as it will travel about one and half kilometers to the observatory station from the earth.

About Gaia

• Gaia has been developed in more than 20 years. Then Gaia is on a five-year science mission
• Gaia is now en route towards an orbit around a gravitationally-stable virtual point in space called L2, some 1.5 million kilometers beyond Earth as seen from the Sun
• Gaia will observe each of the billion stars an average of 70 times each over the five years and will measure the position and key physical properties of each star, like its brightness, temperature and chemical composition
• It has a sunshield that will block heat and light from the Sun and Earth and this blocking will provide the stable environment that is needed by its sophisticated instruments to make an extraordinarily sensitive and precise census of the Milky Way’s stars


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