First sky map from Gaia satellite

First sky map from Gaia satellite

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Credit: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY/Gaia/DPAC, A. Moitinho and M. Barros (CENTRA – University of Lisbon)/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: First sky map from Gaia satellite. All-sky view of stars in the Milky Way (across centre) and neighbouring galaxies, based on the first year of observations from the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite. Brighter regions indicate denser concentrations of stars, while darker regions correspond to patches of the sky where fewer stars are observed. The bright band running across centre is the central band of stars of the Milky Way galaxy. Darker regions along the galactic plane are clouds of interstellar gas and dust. The two bright objects at lower right are two small dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The curves and stripes are where missing information will be filled in during Gaia's five-year mission. These initial observations took place from July 2014 to September 2015. This image was released in September 2016.

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