Gaia Data Release 3: Exploring our Multi-Dimensional Milky Way

Gaia Data Release 3: Exploring our Multi-Dimensional Milky Way

Since its launch in 2013 ESA’s Gaia observatory has been mapping our galaxy from Lagrange point 2, creating the most accurate and complete multi-dimensional map of the Milky Way. By now two full sets of data have been released, the first set in 2016 and a second one in 2018. These data releases contained stellar […]

Jupiter’s Moon Europa to Obscure Distant Star

Jupiter’s moon Europa to obscure distant star

On 19 June 2022, Jupiter’s intriguing moon Europa will pass in front of a distant star, making that star appear to disappear for at least a minute. This event will be easy to see with any size of telescope from certain parts of Africa. By timing the event and then comparing the observations from different […]

Gaia finds parts of the Milky Way much older than expected

Gaia finds parts of the Milky Way much older than expected

Using data from ESA’s Gaia mission, astronomers have shown that a part of the Milky Way known as the ‘thick disc’ began forming 13 billion years ago, around 2 billion years earlier than expected, and just 0.8 billion years after the Big Bang. This surprising result comes from an analysis performed by Maosheng Xiang and Hans-Walter […]

Gaia spacecraft reveals a new member of the Milky Way family

Gaia reveals a new member of the Milky Way family

This image shows the Milky Way as seen by Gaia. The squares represent the location of globular clusters, the triangles the location of satellite galaxies, and the small dots are stellar streams. The dots and squares in purple are objects brought into the Milky Way by the Pontus merging galaxy. Adapted from the ESA’s Science […]