New space map reveals heavenly treasure trove of mysterious “star earthquake”

Monday’s Gaia spacecraft reveals the latest discoveries in its quest to map the Milky Way in unprecedented detail, surveying nearly two million stars and attacking a giant tsunami-like fiery giant. Revealed a typical “star earthquake”.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the third dataset of this mission was released to enthusiastic astronomers around the world at 1000 GMT, “revolutionizing our understanding of the galaxy.” … apparently …

ESA Secretary-General Josef Aschbacher said at a news conference that it was a “great day for astronomy” because the data “opens a lock for new discoveries in our universe, new science in our Milky Way.”


Gaia Data Release 3: Explore the Multidimensional Milky Way To
European Space Agency, ESA On youtube

François Minard, a member of the Gaia team, told AFP that some of the new insights in the map, including a catalog of over 156,000 asteroids in the solar system, “calculate the orbit of the instrument with unparalleled accuracy. I did. “

However, Gaia is also looking beyond the Milky Way, discovering 2.9 million other galaxies and 1.9 million quasars, the surprisingly bright galactic centers powered by supermassive black holes.

The Gaia spacecraft is in a strategically located orbit 937,000 miles from Earth and has been watching the sky since it was launched by the ESA in 2013.

According to ESA, observations of star earthquakes, which are large-scale vibrations that change the shape of distant stars, were “one of the most amazing discoveries from new data.”

European cosmic star chart
This map shows the interplanetary dust that fills the Milky Way.

ESA / AP


Gaia wasn’t built to observe star quakes, but at least according to the current understanding of the universe, it has detected strange phenomena in thousands of stars, including those that shouldn’t have anything. ..

“Star Quake teaches us a lot about the stars, especially their inner workings. Gaia is opening a gold mine for the” asteroseismology “of giant stars,” said Gaia’s team member. Conny Aerts said.

Gaia investigated more than 1.8 billion stars, which is only about 1% of the Milky Way stars, which is about 100,000 light-years in diameter.

The probe is equipped with two telescopes and a billion-pixel camera to capture a clear image sufficient to measure the diameter of a single human hair 620 miles away.

The new data includes new information such as star age, mass, temperature, and chemical composition. This can be used, for example, to determine which star was born in another galaxy and then moved to the Milky Way.

With incredibly accurate data, “we can look at the past history of our own Milky Way for over 10 billion years,” said Anthony Brown, chair of the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, which screened a large amount of data. I am.

Gaia’s results are already “much better than expected” at this point, Minar said.

They show that our galaxies are not moving smoothly through the universe as they were thought, but instead are “turbulent” and “restless”.

“It has experienced many accidents in its life, and still has them,” he added, as it interacts with other galaxies. “Probably never quiesced.”

“Our galaxy is certainly a living thing, a place where objects are born and die,” Arts said.

“The surrounding galaxies are constantly interacting with our galaxies and sometimes fall into them.”

Approximately 50 scientific papers have been published with new data, and more will be published in the coming years.

Gaia’s observations have energized thousands of studies since the first dataset was released in 2016.

The second dataset in 2018 allowed astronomers to show that the Milky Way merged with another galaxy in a violent collision about 10 billion years ago.

It took the team five years to provide the latest data. This was observed from 2014 to 2017.

The final dataset will be released in 2030 after Gaia completes an empty survey in 2025.

In the release on Monday, only two new exoplanets (and 200 other potential candidates) were identified, but there are far more possibilities in the future.

“In principle, Gaia should be able to detect tens of thousands of exoplanets up to Jupiter’s mass, especially when it lasts for a full decade,” Brown said.

European cosmic star chart
This all-sky view, provided by the European Space Agency on Monday, June 13, 2022, shows a sample of the Milky Way stars in Gaia’s Data Release 3. The color indicates the amount of metal in the star. Red stars are rich in metal.

ESA / AP


Currently released Gaia data includes 800,000 binaries (stars that move in tandem with each other), several new exoplanets, hundreds of thousands of asteroids in the solar system, and millions across galaxies. It also contains information about individual celestial bodies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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