Following the Gaia second data release on 25 April 2018, an interactive gathering is planned to allow scientists to come together and explore the Gaia data. This Gaia Data Release 2 Exploration Lab is planned in the last week of June (25 - 29 June), two months after the release, and will take place at the European Space Astronomy Centre near Madrid, Spain.

This exploration lab is focusing particularly on getting hands-on experience with the data, forming groups to explore scientific subjects together and brainstorming uses of the data which might lead to drafts of scientific papers.

The Gaia DR2 Exploration Lab is following an approach similar to the original concept of the Gaia Sprints.



The objective is to stimulate state-of-the-art exploitation of the Gaia DR2 dataset in a relaxed, yet focused and productive atmosphere. The Exploration Lab aims to bring together scientists with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, different interests, and from different locations working together for a week on exciting scientific topcis in a collaborative spirit.



Gaia experts from the Gaia Archive team, the Gaia Science Operations team and from the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) will be around to help with questions on data access or data usage.


Policy on data and software

We encourage an open atmosphere. As the workshop is centred on sharing and collaborating, any data, catalogue, or software you bring to and use at the Lab must be publicly available and you must be willing for this to be used in any publications which may arise from the collaborative work.

Given this condition, consider carefully if you want to bring proprietary data for use and make sure you are allowed to share these data with the other participants if you do bring it with you to the Lab.

Your participation means you accept this "Data and Software Policy".


Policy For authorship on papers

An open and inspiring environment where participants feel free to share their scientific ideas forms an essential part the Gaia DR2 Exploration Lab. A policy of shared authorship is adopted, ensuring that any participant can become a co-author on a paper drafted at the Lab if they provided valuable input or a significant contribution to the paper.

Your participation means you accept this "Shared Authorship Policy".


Recommended Preparations

Make sure to bring your own laptop. Some prior knowledge of the use of the Gaia Archive or how to handle Gaia data is advisable.

  • Sign up for a Gaia Archive account (non-DPAC members only)
  • install TOPCAT (advisable)

We encourage the use of the Gaia Archive but feel free to bring any prepared subsets of Gaia DR2 data. There will be a USB disk with Gaia DR2 data available, in an identical format to the Gaia DR2 bulk-download.

Instructions with some light home work expected from all participants before the Exploration Lab will be sent in due course. One of the instructions will be to prepare a one-minute introduction about yourself and your science expertise to be presented during introductions on Monday.


Travelling to Spain

It is the participant's own responsibility to ensure he/she is in possession of all necessary travel documents to travel to Spain.


Access to ESAC

Make sure you bring a valid passport or ID to the Gaia DR2 Exploration Lab as you will need it to gain access to the site. More information on the venue can be found here.

Also please bring some cash (Euros) to pay for lunch, this will help speed up lunch payment at the ESAC canteen.


Alternative workshops / sprints

The Gaia New York City Sprint is given in June 2018 as well, but is at this moment fully booked. Then there will be a "Second Gaia Data Workshop" organised in Heidelberg (Germany), also in June 2018, which focuses more on providing information and tutorials, and less on science exploration. Another Gaia Sprint is planned for 2019 in Santa Barbara (USA).