Week in Geek - Map of the stars
My weekly post for The Rachel Maddow Show.
Week in Geek: Map of the stars edition.
The European Space Agency (ESA) just released a map of the sky with over a million stars, as observed by the Gaia satellite.
Gaia was launched in December of 2013 from the Soyuz Launch Complex in Kourou, French Guiana. It orbits the Sun along with Earth in the L2 lagrange point, meaning it is always on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. Gaia’s objective is to measure the positions and velocities of over one billion stars in our galaxy, thereby creating the most detailed 3D map of the Milky Way to date. There are approximately 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, so while Gaia can only observe a fraction of these, it’s still orders of magnitude larger than our current surveys. In fact, the vast majority of the stars Gaia is observing have never had their distances accurately determined.
Also features: microwaving books, cannibalism, Star Trek, and the HMS Terror.
Read the full article here.