Home > Agencies & Organisations, Astronomy, Cosmology, ESA (European Space Agency), Galaxies, General Astronomy, Stars > ESA’s Billion Star Surveyor: UCL’s Contribution

ESA’s Billion Star Surveyor: UCL’s Contribution


On Thursday 19 December at 09:12 GMT, a satellite designed to unlock the secrets of the birth and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy will be launched by the European Space Agency.

UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has played a major part in the satellite – named Gaia – for 12 years, developing the instrument that will measure the speed, temperature, size and age of over a billion stars in our galaxy.

Gaia’s mission is to slowly scan the sky, rotating every six hours, and survey the whole sky some hundred times in its six year mission. It has two extraordinarily stable telescopes, each focussing on the same huge array of 106 electronic detectors, the biggest ever either launched into orbit or on any Earth-based telescope.

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