Among other things, the atlas allows scientists to study the traces of smaller galaxies swallowed by the Milky Way. "If we look at these remains, we can think about exactly how we believe galaxies form," Dr. Timo Prusti, a scientist of the Gaia project. With the Gaia data, it is possible to answer these questions. "
As Gaia circled the Sun, the spacecraft slowly spins so its two telescopes scan the sky and can examine about 100,000 stars per minute. The 3-D Atlas, based on data collected by Gaia over a 22 month period, shows the size of the stars, how they move, and how far away they are from us.
"Knowing how far [a star] tells us how light it really is, not just how bright it looks to us from the earth," Dr. Evgenya Shkolnik, Astrophysicist of Arizona State University, who is not involved in the Gaia mission, MACH in an e-mail. "And as soon as we know how light it really is, then all sorts of other amazing astrophysical questions will be unlocked."
In addition to all these stars, the map shows the positions of more than 14,000 asteroids and 500,000 quasars that are ultrabright celestial bodies, made by supermassive blacks Holes are driven.
The one billion dollar Gaia spacecraft was sent to space on a five-year mission in 2013, the Milky Way's largest and most accurate 3-D map. The ESA says the observatory could also find new asteroids and exoplanets and even use them to test Einstein's theory of relativity.
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