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A telescope counts 1.8 billion new stars in the “Milky Way”

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The European “Gaia” space telescope reveals the first part of a new index that includes more than 1.8 billion celestial bodies in the Milky Way alone, which have been observed with unparalleled accuracy.
Thousands of scientists from all over the world are awaiting the feat, thanks to the space observatory that the European Space Agency put into orbit in 2013.
And stationed «Gaia» at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth, opposite to the direction of the sun, to better shield its radiation. As for its optics, which are protected by a cover from being hit by tiny meteorites, they slowly sweep through space, and their full cycle lasts six hours.
The telescope detects and observes a very small fraction of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy, to which planet Earth belongs, and whose diameter is more than a hundred thousand light years. The index counts a group of celestial bodies, starting with all known types of stars, outer planets and asteroids, to the interstellar medium and galactic clouds close to the Milky Way.
And these objects were detected thanks to a group of photovoltaic cells that allow to determine their location, distance and knowledge of their movement. Through measurements of their physical properties, scientists can better understand the phenomena of the formation and evolution of stars and the Milky Way.
The first index of the space observatory dates back to 2016. As for the second, it set the year 2018, and included 1.7 billion sources, thanks to which scientists, for example, reached the conclusion that the Milky Way galaxy “merged” with another galaxy, ten billion years ago. Hence, the new index is the third.
Catherine Torun, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory, and a pioneer in measuring astronomical space, who participated in the “Gaia” mission since its inception, said that this telescope has caused a “revolution in knowledge”. She explained that one of these collisions between galaxies “coincides with the age of our solar system, which reinforces the hypothesis that each collision leads to a mutation in star formation,” including the Sun of our system.
As for the official at the National Center for Space Studies, Chantal Panim, she expected that “discoveries will multiply,” noting that “about 3800 scientific articles have been published based on Gaia data” since the second index.
Catherine Turun said that the third index enriches its predecessors, as it includes 1.8 billion celestial bodies, and “most importantly, it is characterized by astronomical accuracy and much better optical measurement.”

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