Gaia spacecraft finds new jigsaw pieces for puzzle of the Universe

Gaia spacecraft finds new jigsaw pieces for puzzle of the Universe

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The Gaia spacecraft has unearthed a new treasure trove of secrets about our galaxy — and beyond.

The European Space Agency (ESA) mission plans to produce the largest, most precise 3D map of the Milky Way. To achieve this lofty goal, Gaia is surveying almost 2 billion celestial objects.

Using two optical telescopes, the satellite is monitoring their motions, luminosity, temperature, and computation. Every observation could unravel new details about Earth and the surrounding Universe.

The new release fills in some big gaps in the maps.

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Gaia had already provided a pretty comprehensive view of the Milky Way and beyond — but some areas of sky required further exploration.

Regions that are densely packed with stars required particular attention. One notable example is globular clusters.

This image shows a star cluster set against a dark background. The further in towards the cluster’s centre, the higher the density of stars.