Archive intro text - publications

A special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics on the Gaia data release 1 was published in November 2016. Links to the papers in that issue can be found here.

A special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics on the Gaia data release 2 was published in April 2018. Links to the papers in that issue can be found here.

Below is a selection of publications related to the Gaia mission.

Publication archive

Publication archive

We provide a revised assessment of the number of exoplanets that should be discovered by Gaia astrometry, extending previous studies to a broader range of spectral types, distances, and magnitudes. Our assessment is based on a large representative sample of host stars from the TRILEGAL Galaxy population synthesis model, recent estimates of the exoplanet frequency distributions as a function of stellar type, and detailed simulation of the Gaia observations using the updated instrument performance and scanning law. We use two approaches to estimate detectable planetary systems: one based on the signal-to-noise ratio of the astrometric signature per field crossing, easily reproducible and allowing comparisons with previous estimates, and a new and more robust metric based on orbit fitting to the simulated satellite data. With some plausible assumptions on planet occurrences, we find that some 21,000 (±6000) high-mass (~1-15MJ) long-period planets should be discovered out to distances of ~500 pc for the nominal 5 yr mission (including at least 1000-1500 around M dwarfs out to 100 pc), rising to some 70,000 (±20, 000) for a 10 yr mission. We indicate some of the expected features of this exoplanet population, amongst them ~25-50 intermediate-period (P ~ 2-3 yr) transiting systems.
Published: 19 November 2014
Context. The first release of astrometric data from Gaia is expected in 2016. It will contain the mean stellar positions and magnitudes from the first year of observations. For more than 100 000 stars in common with the Hipparcos Catalogue it will be possible to compute very accurate proper motions due to the time difference of about 24 years between the two missions. This Hundred Thousand Proper Motions (HTPM) project is planned to be part of the first release.
Aims. Our aim is to investigate how early Gaia data can be optimally combined with information from the Hipparcos Catalogue in order to provide the most accurate and reliable results for HTPM.
Methods. The Astrometric Global Iterative Solution (AGIS) was developed to compute the astrometric core solution based on the Gaia observations and will be used for all releases of astrometric data from Gaia. We adapt AGIS to process Hipparcos data in addition to Gaia observations, and use simulations to verify and study the joint solution method.
Results. For the HTPM stars we predict proper motion accuracies between 14 and 134 μas yr-1, depending on stellar magnitude and amount of Gaia data available. Perspective effects will be important for a significant number of HTPM stars, and in order to treat these effects accurately we introduce a formalism called scaled model of kinematics (SMOK). We define a goodness-of-fit statistic which is sensitive to deviations from uniform space motion, caused for example by binaries with periods of 10–50 years.
Conclusions. HTPM will significantly improve the proper motions of the Hipparcos Catalogue well before highly accurate Gaia-only results become available.
[Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations]
Published: 14 November 2014

Cataloguing the night sky is an essential part of astronomy. Before astronomers can investigate a celestial object, they must know where to find it. Without this knowledge, astronomers would wander helplessly in what Galileo once termed a 'dark labyrinth'.

ESA's Gaia mission will create a detailed map of this labyrinth, finding clues to the origin, structure and evolution of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.


  • The discovery machine
  • Stars as individuals and collectives
  • Our Solar System and others
  • How does Gaia work?
  • Building Gaia
  • Launch
  • The flood of data
Published: 16 June 2012
Gaia is ESA's global space astrometry mission, designed to map one thousand million stars and hundreds of thousands of other celestial objects in our galaxy, so its camera will have to be something truly special.
Published: 15 February 2010
In the course of Gaia's 5-year astronomical survey, the equivalent of around 20 000 DVDs of raw information on our Galaxy will be harvested and transmitted to Earth. Sophisticated processing is needed to distill this flood of complex data into the final Gaia Catalogue of about 1000 million celestial objects. A group of more than 300 European scientists and software developers is rising to the challenge: the Data Processing and Analysis Consortium is already preparing for Gaia's launch in 2011.
Published: 15 November 2007
Between 4-7 October 2004, a major symposium dedicated to the scientific aspects of the Gaia mission was held at the Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France, as "Les Rencontres de l'Observatoire 2004". Attended by 240 delegates, the four-day meeting was an opportunity to present the current status of the Gaia mission to the interested scientific community, and to hear about the results of investigations carried out in the various areas of the mission over the last four years.
Published: 01 January 2005
This note summarises the status of the Gaia project at the end of 2004, describing the progress achieved in 2004, and summarising the major ongoing and planned activities. An important development was the appointment of the Gaia Project Team within the Projects Department of the ESA Directorate of Science, signifying the transition from study to project phase. The target launch date is 1 December 2011. Compared to the target 1 year ago, this represents a delay of more than 1 year. On the positive side, this corresponds to a technical feasibility assessment of the newProject Team, and may still be compared with the 'not later than 2012' launch target mandated by the Science Programme Committee when the project was accepted by ESA in 2000.
Published: 08 March 2005
Gaia in 2003, a status report prepared by the Gaia Project Scientist, summarises the status of the Gaia project at the end of 2003, describes the progress achieved in 2003, and summarises the major ongoing and planned activities.
Published: 25 May 2004
Vilnius, Lithuania, 2-6 July 2001
Editors: Vladas Vansevicius, Arunas Kucinskas, Jokubas Sudzius
The proceedings are published in Astrophysics and Space Science Vol. 280, Issue 1-2, 2002 (see contents list online - restricted access) and are available online
Published: 01 January 2002
This document summarises the status of the Gaia project at the end of 2002, describing the progress achieved in 2002, and summarising the major ongoing and planned activities in both the scientific and technical areas. It gives references to technical notes prepared by the Gaia scientific community during the year.
Published: 27 January 2003
9-12 September 2002
La Residenza del Sole
Congress Center
Gressoney St. Jean
Published: 02 July 2003
Les Houches Summer School, 14-18 May 2001
Editors: Olivier Bienaymé and Catherine Turon
The proceedings are published in the EAS Publications Series, Volume 2 (2002) and are available online.
Published: 01 January 2002
The scientific case and technical design description on which the mission was accepted within ESA's scientific programme. Note that the design details have been superseded, although the essential instrument principles and design objectives remain unaffected.
Published: 02 March 2001
GAIA is proposed for ESA's fifth cornerstone mission which has a prospective launch date of 2009. The objectives of GAIA are many-fold, but the core objective is the discovery of the origin and formation of the Galaxy. To do this GAIA will combine information from astrometry, photometry, and radial velocity instruments using the proven principles of the Hipparcos mission.
Published: 19 June 2000
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