Gaia has been glancing at our stellar neighborhood since 2014, and each of its data discharges has steered us towards taking giant leaps in our perception of the Milky Way.
Astronomers have understood the precise positions of the huge numbers of stars, their ranges from Earth, and the speeds at which they drift.
For Gaia’s years of honorable scanning of the sky, information about the stars’ trajectories and gestures in three-dimensional space is becoming more and more detailed. Slowly, finer elements of the galaxy structure are coming up in front of astronomers’ eyes, and the story of its development comes to life.
The upcoming release will strengthen some previously elusive information about the chemical configurations, ages, and masses of millions of stars.
Many spherical clusters assembled with the Milky Way billions of years ago after being pulled into its path by the galaxy’s gravitational power. However, even today, astronomers can differentiate their remnants among the stars.
“Globular clusters are special because they get torn apart [when they fall into the galaxy], but they still live as coherent groups of stars in the sky as stellar streams,” Balbinot told. “So the first thing I am going to do after I finish downloading this gigantic data set is to look for these dissolved streams of stars.”