Gaia's First Data Release

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On September 14th, Gaia published its first data release that detailed all the findings from its first year of scanning the sky. The date marked 1,000 days since the satellite launched and since then it has been continously scanning the sky, building towards its objective of producing the most precise 3D map of our Milky Way galaxy

The release included the positions, magnitudes, parallax and proper motions of 2,056,050 stars! Over its lifetime, Gaia is set to observe 1 billion stars within our galaxy.

Paul and Sophie were at the Royal Astronomical Society for the event alongside the Gaia Alerts team at Cambridge University, Becky Parker from Inspiring Research in Schools and a group of students from Eastbury Community School. The students had great success with using our instruction guides for Spotting a Supernova. They performed photometry on images taken by the Faulkes Telescopes and LCOGT network of the supernova target Gaia16agf. They plotted their results onto a light curve which shows the initial rise in brightness of the object before it then gradually faded over the following month. 

If you'd like to have a go at spotting a supernova you can find all the materials here.

To track the most recent supernova discoveries from Gaia and observe them for yourself, you can find them all here.