ESA: Gaia’s second data release to offer details on 1.6 billion stars

April 6 (UPI) — Astronomers working on the Gaia mission are preparing for the spacecraft’s second data release. According to the latest European Space Agency update, the data release will offer details on approximately 1.6 billion stars.

Launched in 2013, Gaia is working its way toward compiling the largest and most precise 3D space catalog in history. At the culmination of Gaia’s five-year science mission, the space observatory will have surveyed a record 1 percent of the universe’s 100 billion stars.

During the course of its survey efforts, Gaia will observe each of its more than 1 billion targets 70 times, recording information about each target’s position and brightness.

While most of Gaia’s targets are stars, the observatory will also gather data on planets, brown dwarfs and comets, as well as stellar phenomena such as supernovae and quasars.

The forthcoming data release, scheduled for April 25, will comprise observations made between July 2014 and May 2016. The data will be shared online through the Gaia archive.

The second data release will include data on the colors of 1.38 billion stars, the radial velocities of 7.2 million stars and surface temperature estimates for 161 million stars. The Gaia data will also include radius and luminosity measurements for 76 million stars.

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