From the October 2014 issue

Web Extra: Inside Gaia’s one-billion-pixel camera

The European Space Agency is using the most powerful camera ever flown in space to create a precise 3-D map of the Milky Way.
By | Published: October 27, 2014 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Gaia spacecraft
Artist’s impression of the Gaia spacecraft.
The European Space Agency plans to use its latest spacecraft, Gaia, to capture the light of 1 billion stars. And once is not enough. The telescope will return repeatedly to stars, imaging them as many as 70 times in its quest to create the most precise map ever of our Milky Way Galaxy.

The telescope, which entered Earth orbit in 2013, will make use of unprecedented camera technology. Containing nearly 1 billion pixels, Gaia boasts the most powerful imager ever flown in space. The instrument will allow it to precisely measure the positions and movements of each star in its field, shedding new light on our galactic neighborhood.

Credit: ESA – C. Carreau