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See detailGaia Data Release 1. Summary of the astrometric, photometric, and survey properties
Gaia Collaboration; Brown, A. G. A.; Vallenari, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. At about 1000 days after the launch of Gaia we present the first Gaia data release, Gaia DR1, consisting of astrometry and photometry for over 1 billion sources brighter than magnitude 20.7. <BR ... [more ▼]

Context. At about 1000 days after the launch of Gaia we present the first Gaia data release, Gaia DR1, consisting of astrometry and photometry for over 1 billion sources brighter than magnitude 20.7. <BR /> Aims: A summary of Gaia DR1 is presented along with illustrations of the scientific quality of the data, followed by a discussion of the limitations due to the preliminary nature of this release. <BR /> Methods: The raw data collected by Gaia during the first 14 months of the mission have been processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) and turned into an astrometric and photometric catalogue. <BR /> Results: Gaia DR1 consists of three components: a primary astrometric data set which contains the positions, parallaxes, and mean proper motions for about 2 million of the brightest stars in common with the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues - a realisation of the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) - and a secondary astrometric data set containing the positions for an additional 1.1 billion sources. The second component is the photometric data set, consisting of mean G-band magnitudes for all sources. The G-band light curves and the characteristics of 3000 Cepheid and RR Lyrae stars, observed at high cadence around the south ecliptic pole, form the third component. For the primary astrometric data set the typical uncertainty is about 0.3 mas for the positions and parallaxes, and about 1 mas yr[SUP]-1[/SUP] for the proper motions. A systematic component of 0.3 mas should be added to the parallax uncertainties. For the subset of 94 000 Hipparcos stars in the primary data set, the proper motions are much more precise at about 0.06 mas yr[SUP]-1[/SUP]. For the secondary astrometric data set, the typical uncertainty of the positions is 10 mas. The median uncertainties on the mean G-band magnitudes range from the mmag level to 0.03 mag over the magnitude range 5 to 20.7. <BR /> Conclusions: Gaia DR1 is an important milestone ahead of the next Gaia data release, which will feature five-parameter astrometry for all sources. Extensive validation shows that Gaia DR1 represents a major advance in the mapping of the heavens and the availability of basic stellar data that underpin observational astrophysics. Nevertheless, the very preliminary nature of this first Gaia data release does lead to a number of important limitations to the data quality which should be carefully considered before drawing conclusions from the data. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Gaia mission
Gaia Collaboration; Prusti, T.; de Bruijne, J. H. J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Gaia is a cornerstone mission in the science programme of the EuropeanSpace Agency (ESA). The spacecraft construction was approved in 2006, following a study in which the original interferometric concept ... [more ▼]

Gaia is a cornerstone mission in the science programme of the EuropeanSpace Agency (ESA). The spacecraft construction was approved in 2006, following a study in which the original interferometric concept was changed to a direct-imaging approach. Both the spacecraft and the payload were built by European industry. The involvement of the scientific community focusses on data processing for which the international Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) was selected in 2007. Gaia was launched on 19 December 2013 and arrived at its operating point, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, a few weeks later. The commissioning of the spacecraft and payload was completed on 19 July 2014. The nominal five-year mission started with four weeks of special, ecliptic-pole scanning and subsequently transferred into full-sky scanning mode. We recall the scientific goals of Gaia and give a description of the as-built spacecraft that is currently (mid-2016) being operated to achieve these goals. We pay special attention to the payload module, the performance of which is closely related to the scientific performance of the mission. We provide a summary of the commissioning activities and findings, followed by a description of the routine operational mode. We summarise scientific performance estimates on the basis of in-orbit operations. Several intermediate Gaia data releases are planned and the data can be retrieved from the Gaia Archive, which is available through the Gaia home page. <A href="http://www.cosmos.esa.int/gaia">http://www.cosmos.esa.int/gaia</A> [less ▲]

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See detailThe Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey
Gilmore, G.; Randich, S.; Asplund, M. et al

in The Messenger (2012), 147

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically ... [more ▼]

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically covering all the major components of the Milky Way. This survey will provide the first homogeneous overview of the distributions of kinematics and chemical element abundances in the Galaxy. The motivation, organisation and implementation of the Gaia-ESO Survey are described, emphasising the complementarity with the ESA Gaia mission. Spectra from the very first observing run of the survey are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailGENIE: a Ground-Based European Nulling Instrument at ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer
Gondoin, P.; den Hartog, R.; Fridlund, M. et al

in Richichi, A.; Delplancke, F.; Paresce, F. (Eds.) et al The Power of Optical/IR Interferometry: Recent Scientific Results and 2nd Generation Instrumentation (2008)

Darwin is one of the most challenging space projects ever considered by the European Space Agency (ESA). Its principal objectives are to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars, to analyze the ... [more ▼]

Darwin is one of the most challenging space projects ever considered by the European Space Agency (ESA). Its principal objectives are to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars, to analyze the composition of their atmospheres and to assess their ability to sustain life as we know it. Darwin is conceived as a space ``nulling interferometer'' which makes use of on-axis destructive interferences to extinguish the stellar light while keeping the off-axis signal of the orbiting planet. Within the frame of the Darwin program, definition studies of a Ground based European Nulling Interferometry Experiment, called GENIE, were completed in 2005. This instrument built around the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in Paranal will test some of the key technologies required for the Darwin Infrared Space Interferometer. GENIE will operate in the L' band around 3.8 microns as a single Bracewell nulling interferometer using either two Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) or two 8m Unit Telescopes (UTs). Its science objectives include the detection and characterization of dust disks and low-mass companions around nearby stars. [less ▲]

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