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GAIA: The Milkyway and beyond in 3D

André Moitinho de Almeida

GAIA is a cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) scheduled to be launched in 2011. It will conduct a census of one thousand million stars in our Galaxy in order to address the formation, evolution and structure of the Milkyway. Its direct product will be a highly accurate (>~ micro arscec) astrometric and photometric survey to V = 20 mag. By measuring positions, distances, space motions, and several physical characteristics, Gaia will also account for and support a wide range of astrophysical research including, the definition of the absolute reference frame, cosmological distance scale, detection of dark matter, extra-solar planets and near-Earth objects.

Compared to its predecessor, Hipparcos, Gaia will improve parallax and proper-motion accuracy by almost a 100 times and the number of stars observed 10 000 times. To achieve such a precision, Gaia will monitor each target about 100 times during five years. Processing and analysing the enormous amount of data produced by the mission will be an extremely challenging task. This is the role of the GAIA Data Processing & Analysis Consortium (DPAC) - a large international structure which Portugal has recently joined.

In this talk I'll give an overview of the mission's design and science products and describe the national participation in the DPAC.

2008 March 12, 13:30

Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (Auditorium)
Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto

Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Outreach at IA