IoW_20221021 - Gaia
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Gaia ESA Archive goes live with third data release
Figure 1. Gaia ESA Archive access evolution during 38 hours starting at 10:00 CEST on Monday 13 June 2022. The Archive opened with the new Gaia DR3 data at 12:00 CEST. Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC - CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.
Monday 13 June 2022 marked a small "push the button" for the Science and Operations IT Unit (SITU) of ESA’s Directorate of Science but a giant leap for the Gaia Collaboration and astronomy. At 12:00 CEST sharp, public access to the Gaia ESA Archive at the ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC) was unlocked, revealing a wealth of new data in Gaia’s third data release (Gaia DR3), ranging from asteroids and stars with their star quakes to double stars and galaxies and quasars.
The data release, meticulously produced by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) in collaboration with ESA, encompasses 86 "plain tables" that are accessible through the Table Access Protocol (TAP). In addition, it features several complex data products, such as millions of light curves, spectra, and Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) samples, that are accessible through the DataLink protocol.
Users can access the data through a variety of tools, for instance Python, making use of the astroquery.gaia package, a command-line interface, or a cone-search service (e.g., from within Topcat or PyVO). At ESDC, the data are accessible through ESASky, through the bulk download repository, which contains some 10 TB of compressed ECSV files, and through the Gaia ESA Archive web interface at https://archives.esac.esa.int/gaia. The latter offers a basic search form (for single sources and short lists of objects), an advanced (ADQL) form (for "all functionality" including DataLink access), a visualisation service for bulk data, and extensive help pages (including many new tutorials, Jupyter notebooks, FAQs, example queries, etc.).
The Gaia DR3 data set has proven to be in popular demand right from the start. The movie in Figure 1 shows the Gaia ESA Archive usage on 13 and 14 June with queries being submitted continuously from across the globe. In the first 24 hours of the release, some 189,000 queries were launch by some 4800 users in more than 100 countries. They collectively generated more than 730 GB of query results and download nearly 40 TB of data from the bulk download repository. Since its release, Gaia DR3-enabled discoveries have been appearing on a daily basis, which is a further testimony of the revolutionary nature of the Gaia mission.
Further reading: where is the DR3 data?
Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, Beatriz Martínez (RHEA for ESA), Jos de Bruijne
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