ESA unveils largest map of our galaxy in history

The European Space Agency has released the most detailed map of the location of stars in our home galaxy known as the Milky Way. The map contains about 1.3 billion objects, with a total estimate of the number of stars in the galaxy at 300 billion. It is impossible to count and enter all the data in the databases right away - the Gaia project has been working for several years, and these are intermediate, but very interesting results.

Gaia is a special space station launched in 2013. Its main task is to take high-resolution images of all parts of the stellar space twice a year. Since the station is a satellite of the Earth, and in six months our planet is displaced a considerable distance around the Sun, we get two images from different angles.

It remains to superimpose one on top of the other to get the effect of binocularity and create a semblance of a three-dimensional image. Not for the sake of beauty - this is a way to more or less accurately measure the distance to the stars, to assess their relative position in space. The rest is a matter of technology, to carry out calculations and enter data on the location of objects in the map of the Milky Way.

According to Fred Jansen, project manager for Gaia, this is astronomy at its best. Galactic Map laid out for everyone to access, free of charge. Scientists-astronomers can only take the coordinates of the stars and apply them in their research.