Milky Way and Gaia satellite

Milky Way and Gaia satellite

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Credit: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY,D. Ducros/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Milky Way and Gaia satellite. This montage shows an edge-on view of the Milky Way as a band of stars and dust across the night sky. Gaia (lower right) is a European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft due to be launched in December 2013. It will travel to the second Lagrangian point (L2), located about 1.6 million kilometres from the Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun. From there, it will scan the sky for five years and measure the position and properties of a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. It will also be used to detect extrasolar planets, asteroids within the solar system, and distant quasars, as well as testing the Theory of General Relativity.

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Keywords: 2013, 21st century, asteroids, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, celestial mapping, esa, extrasolar planets, gaia, galactic, galaxy, l2, lagrangian point, mapping, milky way, montage, optical, probe, project, quasars, research, satellite, scanning, space, spacecraft, stars, telescope, theory of general relativity, universe, visible

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