GAIA: Composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The GAIA astrometric mission has recently been approved as one of thenext two ``cornerstones'' of ESA's science programme, with a launch datetarget of not later than mid-2012. GAIA will provide positional andradial velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce astereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars throughoutour Galaxy (and into the Local Group), amounting to about 1 percent ofthe Galactic stellar population. GAIA's main scientific goal is toclarify the origin and history of our Galaxy, from a quantitative censusof the stellar populations. It will advance questions such as when thestars in our Galaxy formed, when and how it was assembled, and itsdistribution of dark matter. The survey aims for completeness to V=20mag, with accuracies of about 10 mu as at 15 mag. Combined withastrophysical information for each star, provided by on-boardmulti-colour photometry and (limited) spectroscopy, these data will havethe precision necessary to quantify the early formation, and subsequentdynamical, chemical and star formation evolution of our Galaxy.Additional products include detection and orbital classification of tensof thousands of extra-Solar planetary systems, and a comprehensivesurvey of some 10<SUP>5</SUP>-10<SUP>6</SUP> minor bodies in our SolarSystem, through galaxies in the nearby Universe, to some 500 000 distantquasars. It will provide a number of stringent new tests of generalrelativity and cosmology. The complete satellite system was evaluated aspart of a detailed technology study, including a detailed payloaddesign, corresponding accuracy assesments, and results from a prototypedata reduction development.

Details

Authors
  • M. A. C. Perryman
  • K. S. de Boer
  • G. Gilmore
  • E. Høg
  • M. G. Lattanzi
  • Lennart Lindegren
  • X. Luri
  • F. Mignard
  • O. Pace
  • P. T. de Zeeuw
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Keywords

  • INSTRUMENTATION: MISCELLANEOUS, SPACE VEHICLES: INSTRUMENTS, ASTROMETRY, GALAXY: GENERAL, TECHNIQUES: PHOTOMETRIC, TECHNIQUES: RADIAL VELOCITIES
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-363
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume369
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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