Gaia news portal

The news in this bulletin board is compiled from various sources across the world wide web.

From the Gaia news page: Using telescopes on Earth, Gaia's Ground Based Optical Tracking campaign (GBOT) has been delivering daily datasets, which are used to determine the satellite's position, since launch. Making use of data that are generated for its primary purpose, the tracking of Gaia, the campaign has now found an additional science application: the detection of asteroids. Using the astrometric pipeline, several tens of known and unknown asteroids are being detected every night. Find out more about the asteroid programme here. more
2015 is the International Year of Light and marks an important milestone in the history of physics with the one-hundredth anniversary of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Having the ability to test some of its aspects to an unprecedented accuracy, Gaia will probe the tiny deviations predicted by General Relativity in our solar system. However, the satellite will also see other evidence at work such as gravitational lensing shown in the images of the so-called Einstein Cross, discovered in 1985 (Q2237+030), and of a very similar one (HE0435-1223), discovered in 2002. more

24/03/2015: Gaia engineering data release for cosmic ray studies

From the Gaia news page: The radiation environment at L2 is of great interest to current and future space missions with operational orbits around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point. End-of-Life performance and transient events on the semiconductor imaging detectors are based on models that need to be correlated to real data. Transient events in the form of cosmic ray trails recorded on the Gaia Focal Plane CCDs may support these studies and a small initial engineering data release has been prepared for this purpose. The complete data set covering data acquisitions from May 2014 to January 2015 and the corresponding technical note are available for download here. A preliminary analysis on radiation effects including cosmic ray events on the Gaia CCDs has been done in a SPIE paper.
During the first part of the Gaia mission in Ecliptic Pole Scanning Law, Gaia frequently observed the South Ecliptic Pole (SEP) which covers an external region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). A couple of hundred RR Lyrae stars are known to populate the central 1 square degree of the Gaia SEP. Their typical average apparent magnitudes are around 19.5 mag in V. The magnitude of RR Lyrae stars is fainter and amplitudes are larger in blue photometric bands. more
To test the photometric deblending software, which is to be fully deployed at the Cambridge Data Processing Centre by the end of 2015, a set of known bright double stars has been processed. The figure above shows the output of the code applied to the BP/RP spectra of the double star "HD 270801", the first Gaia BP/RP deblended object. more
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