Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 369, 339-363 (2001/4-1)
GAIA: Composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy.
PERRYMAN M.A.C., DE BOER K.S., GILMORE G., HOG E., LATTANZI M.G., LINDEGREN L., LURI X., MIGNARD F., PACE O. and DE ZEEUW P.T.
Abstract (from CDS):
The GAIA astrometric mission has recently been approved as one of the next two ``cornerstones'' of ESA's science programme, with a launch date target of not later than mid-2012. GAIA will provide positional and radial velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce a stereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars throughout our Galaxy (and into the Local Group), amounting to about 1 percent of the Galactic stellar population. GAIA's main scientific goal is to clarify the origin and history of our Galaxy, from a quantitative census of the stellar populations. It will advance questions such as when the stars in our Galaxy formed, when and how it was assembled, and its distribution of dark matter. The survey aims for completeness to V=20 mag, with accuracies of about 10µas at 15mag. Combined with astrophysical information for each star, provided by on-board multi-colour photometry and (limited) spectroscopy, these data will have the precision necessary to quantify the early formation, and subsequent dynamical, chemical and star formation evolution of our Galaxy. Additional products include detection and orbital classification of tens of thousands of extra-Solar planetary systems, and a comprehensive survey of some 105-106 minor bodies in our Solar System, through galaxies in the nearby Universe, to some 500000 distant quasars. It will provide a number of stringent new tests of general relativity and cosmology. The complete satellite system was evaluated as part of a detailed technology study, including a detailed payload design, corresponding accuracy assesments, and results from a prototype data reduction development.
instrumentation: miscellaneous - space vehicles: instruments - astrometry - galaxy: general - techniques: photometric - techniques: radial velocities
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