Big Bang Fair 2016

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The Faulkes telescope team were at the Big Bang event at the NEC in Birmingham on the 18th of March to talk about and show off the Gaia mission. Fraser, Sophie and Mat joined the Gaia team, from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University, to showcase the European Space Agency's mission Gaia to teachers and school children.

 Big Bang 1

Visitors to the Gaia stand were able to see, and even touch, a scale model of the Gaia satellite, and those who wanted to look at it in a more virtual way were able to check out the virtual reality model of Gaia, using virtual reality headsets. The whole team spent the day talking about the mission, the science behind it and the future of Gaia to hundreds of enthusiastic school children and teachers.

The Faulkes Telescope Project has a key link to the Gaia satellite through the Gaia alerts. Whilst the main aim of Gaia is to map the positions and distance of 1 billion stars in our own galaxy, it's also great at detecting transient events, such as supernovae and variable stars. In fact it's so good, that it detects tens of alerts for these events every day! But Gaia cannot do a lot of science with these and so telescopes like the Faulkes Telescopes are taking on the challenge of doing the follow up observations, to allow us to learn more about these incredible events. You can find out more about the Gaia Alerts by going to the website.

If you didn't catch us at the Big Bang event, but want to come and learn more about what we do or even get involved in using the Faulkes Telescopes, you can check out our upcoming events page here