Image of the Week

Following-up on Gaia

Gaia 1 cluster image taken from Karlsruhe (Germany) by Harald Kaiser using a 30-cm telescope. The bright, central blob in the centre of the image is Sirius.(Image credit: Harald Kaiser)

 

While waiting for our second Gaia data release, have a look at some Gaia follow-up opportunities and join the fun! Also you, as an amateur astronomer, can help out by looking at the sky with your telescope.

Today's space science image of the week is the perfect example of the inspiration one can get from a Gaia discovery. It is an amateur image of the cluster Gaia 1 which was discovered in 2017 using data from Gaia data release 1. The image was made from Karlsruhe (Germany) by Harald Kaiser using his 30-cm telescope and the selection shows the location of the cluster Gaia 1. Sirius is the bright star in the center and has been blocked with a small piece of paper. A simple yet very effective method to avoid saturation of the image. All the stars in the star cluster look very red in this image because it shows only the very brightest stars of the cluster which have already evolved to red giants.

Are you also interested in following-up on Gaia discoveries like the cluster Gaia 1 or Gaia observations of asteroids or supernovae? Are you aware Gaia data release 1 data already eases the planning of stellar occultation observations. Below a selection of follow-up opportunities for both amateur and professional astronomers is given:

 

Gaia-Groundbased Observational Service for Asteroids

Observation planner of the Gaia-GOSA webservice (image source: www.gaiagosa.eu)

The Gaia-Groundbased Observational Service for Asteroids (Gaia-GOSA) is intended for amateur and professional astronomers to plan and share observations of asteroids. Gaia-GOSA provides tools to plan asteroid observations through the observation planning tool (see image above). It gives insight in which targets are visible from your site and the expected weather conditions at that site. You can also share your observations and let them be processed by Gaia-GOSA. After processing, results are shown through the "observation processing" section, leading to a lightcurve for the observation performed (find here an example of processed observations).

Recently an image of the week was dedicated to this service.

 

Gaia Photometric Science Alerts

All-sky Gaia Photometric Alerts, as given on the Gaia Photometric Alerts webpage, showing all alerts of 2018 up till today (29 January 2018). As background is chosen the IRIS coloured survey image. Specifically selected is Gaia18aai, for which information can be found to the right. (Image source: http://gsaweb.ast.cam.ac.uk/alerts/allsky, acknowledgement: ESA/Gaia/DPAC and the Photometric Science Alerts Team.

Transient events are changing events in the sky, and these events typically require a quick follow-up after discovery. Some examples of transient phenomena are supernovae, tidal disruption events, stars being born or gravitational microlensing effects. To enable this quick follow-up, the Gaia Photometric Science Alerts system was put in place.

Since the start of Gaia's routine operations phase in July 2014, more than 4,300 alerts were issued. More information on this service can be found here. A story on the follow-up of a rare microlensing effect can be found in this Image of the Week and in a news story by ESA Science & Technology.

 

Gaia-FUN-SSO network

Potential discoveries of Solar system objects by Gaia, as distributed through the Gaia-FUN-SSO network. (Image source: https://gaiafunsso.imcce.fr, acknowledgement: ESA/Gaia/DPAC/CU4).

The Gaia Follow-Up Network for Solar System Objects (or Gaia-FUN-SSO) is a ground network of observatories taking part in the follow-up of potential discoveries of Solar system objects by Gaia. Their first Gaia Solar System alert was issued in December 2016 and since then, more than 1,700 alerts were published. Given that Gaia scans the sky with its pre-defined scanning law, ground-based observations are needed in order to avoid losing the newly detected Solar sytem object and to help identifying it.

By becoming a member of Gaia-FUN-SSO, you can enter details of your telescope and location, giving you access to a personalised list of alerts. We hope more observatories will join the ground network and help confirm one of the potential discoveries of a Gaia asteroid.

A news story by ESA Science & Technology on Gaia's asteroids can be found here.

 

Observing stellar occulations

The Lucky-Star Project makes use of the available Gaia data release 1 data for the predicted occultation paths. Since the usage of Gaia DR1 data, planning for stellar occultation campaigns has become a little bit easier. The chances of catching the shadow during the occultation of a star have improved thus making the observation campaigns more worthwile.

A predicted occultation path of a star being occulted by the Kuiper Belt Object "Chaos", available from the ERC Project Lucky Star (image source: ERC Project Lucky Star).

 

Forecasting Gaia observations

A tool is available for forecasting Gaia observations: the Gaia Observation Forecast Tool. You can enter a source name (resolved by either Simbad or Ned) and retrieve its position after which you can submit to receive a forecast for the chosen period.

 

Scientific discoveries through papers

Of course you can also keep an eye out for other discoveries like the cluster Gaia 1 which are published through peer-reviewed publications and are announced on our news channels. Please have a look at the news pages on this website, homepage of the Gaia scientific community, or at the Gaia news pages of ESA Science & Technology.

Feel free to discuss any plans or observations taken at the Gaia community forum.

Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, Harald Kaiser, Stefan Jordan, Photometric Science Alerts Team, FUN-SSO team, ERC Project Lucky Star

[Published: 29/01/2018]

 

Image of the Week Archive

2018
11/09: Impressions from the IAU General Assembly
30/06: Asteroids in Gaia Data
14/06: Mapping and visualising Gaia DR2

25/04: In-depth stories on Gaia DR2

14/04: Gaia tops one trillion observations
16/03: Gaia DR2 Passbands
27/02: Triton observation campaign
11/02: Gaia Women In Science
29/01: Following-up on Gaia
2017
19/12: 4th launch anniversary
24/11: Gaia-GOSA service
27/10: German Gaia stamp in the making
19/10: Hertzsprung-russell diagram using Gaia DR1
05/10: Updated prediction to the Triton occultation campaign
31/08: Close stellar encounters from the first Gaia data release
16/08: Preliminary view of the Gaia sky in colour
07/07: Chariklo stellar occultation follow-up
24/04: Gaia reveals the composition of asteroids
20/04: Extra-galactic observations with Gaia
10/04: How faint are the faintest Gaia stars?
24/03: Pulsating stars to study Galactic structures
09/02: Known exoplanetary transits in Gaia data
31/01: Successful second DPAC Consortium Meeting
2016
23/12: Interactive and statistical visualisation of Gaia DR1 with vaex
16/12: Standard uncertainties for the photometric data (in GDR1)
25/11: Signature of the rotation of the galactic bar uncovered
15/11: Successful first DR1 Workshop
27/10: Microlensing Follow-Up
21/10: Asteroid Occultation
16/09: First DR1 results
14/09: Pluto Stellar Occultation
15/06: Happy Birthday, DPAC!
10/06: 1000th run of the Initial Data Treatment system
04/05: Complementing Gaia observations of the densest sky regions
22/04: A window to Gaia - the focal plane
05/04: Hipparcos interactive data access tool
24/03: Gaia spots a sunspot
29/02: Gaia sees exploding stars next door
11/02: A new heart for the Gaia Object Generator
04/02: Searching for solar siblings with Gaia
28/01: Globular cluster colour-magnitude diagrams
21/01: Gaia resolving power estimated with Pluto and Charon
12/01: 100th First-Look Weekly Report
06/01: Gaia intersects a Perseid meteoroid
2015
18/12: Tales of two clusters retold by Gaia
11/11: Lunar transit temperature plots
06/11: Gaia's sensors scan a lunar transit
03/11: Celebrity comet spotted among Gaia's stars
09/10: The SB2 stars as seen by Gaia's RVS
02/10: The colour of Gaia's eyes
24/09: Estimating distances from parallaxes
18/09: Gaia orbit reconstruction
31/07: Asteroids all around
17/07: Gaia satellite and amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star
03/07: Counting stars with Gaia
01/07: Avionics Model test bench arrives at ESOC
28/05: Short period/faint magnitude Cepheids in the Large Magellanic Cloud
19/05: Visualising Gaia Photometric Science Alerts
09/04: Gaia honours Einstein by observing his cross
02/04: 1 April - First Look Scientists play practical joke
05/03: RR Lyrae stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud as seen by Gaia
26/02: First Gaia BP/RP deblended spectra
19/02: 13 months of GBOT Gaia observations
12/02: Added Value Interface Portal for Gaia
04/02: Gaia's potential for the discovery of circumbinary planets
26/01: DIBs in three hot stars as seen by Gaia's RVS
15/01: The Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution
06/01: Close encounters of the stellar kind
2014
12/12: Gaia detects microlensing event
05/12: Cat's Eye Nebula as seen by Gaia
01/12: BFOSC observation of Gaia at L2
24/11: Gaia spectra of six stars
13/11: Omega Centauri as seen by Gaia
02/10: RVS Data Processing
12/09: Gaia discovers first supernova
04/08: Gaia flag arrives at ESAC
29/07: Gaia handover
15/07: Eclipsing binaries
03/07: Asteroids at the "photo finish"
19/06: Calibration image III - Messier 51
05/06: First Gaia BP/RP and RVS spectra
02/06: Sky coverage of Gaia during commissioning
03/04: Gaia source detection
21/02: Sky-background false detections in the sky mapper
14/02: Gaia calibration images II
06/02: Gaia calibration image I
28/01: Gaia telescope light path
17/01: First star shines for Gaia
14/01: Radiation Campaign #4
06/01: Asteroid detection by Gaia
2013
17/12: Gaia in the gantry
12/12: The sky in G magnitude
05/12: Pre-launch release of spectrophotometric standard stars
28/11: From one to one billion pixels
21/11: The Hipparcos all-sky map
15/10: Gaia Sunshield Deployment Test
08/10: Initial Gaia Source List
17/09: CU1 Operations Workshop
11/09: Apsis
26/08: Gaia arrival in French Guiana
20/08: Gaia cartoons
11/07: Model Soyuz Fregat video
01/07: Acoustic Testing
21/06: SOVT
03/06: CU4 meeting #15
04/04: DPCC (CNES) 
26/03: Gaia artist impression 
11/02: Gaia payload testing  
04/01: Space flyby with Gaia-like data
2012
10/12: DPAC OR#2. Testing with Planck
05/11: Galaxy detection with Gaia
09/10: Plot of part of the GUMS-10 catalogue
23/07: "Gaia" meets at Gaia
29/06: The Sky as seen by Gaia
31/05: Panorama of BAM clean room
29/03: GREAT school results
12/03: Scanning-law movie
21/02: Astrometric microlensing and Gaia
03/02: BAM with PMTS
12/01: FPA with all the CCDs and WFSs
2011
14/12: Deployable sunshield
10/11: Earth Trojan search
21/10: First Soyuz liftoff from the French Guiana
20/09: Fast 2D image reconstruction algorithm
05/09: RVS OMA
10/08: 3D distribution of the Gaia catalogue
13/07: Dynamical Attitude Model
22/06: Gaia's view of open clusters
27/05: Accuracy of the stellar transverse velocity
13/05: Vibration test of BAM mirrors
18/04: L. Lindegren, Dr. Honoris Causa of the Observatory of Paris
19/01: Detectability of stars close to Jupiter
05/01: Delivery of the WFS flight models
2010
21/12: The 100th member of CU3
17/11: Nano-JASMINE and AGIS
27/10: Eclipsing binary light curves fitted with DPAC code
13/10: Gaia broad band photometry
28/09: Measuring stellar parameters and interstellar extinction
14/09: M1 mirror
27/08: Quest for the Sun's siblings
 
Please note: Entries from the period 2003-2010 are available in this PDF document.