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