The ESA's 3D Map Contains Over a Billion Stars Shot by the Gaia Satellite

By: Joey Haar - Sep 15, 2016
References: & gizmodo
The European Space Agency, or ESA, has released the largest ever catalogue of the Milky Way galaxy thanks to images taken over the first 14 months of the Gaia satellite's mission. Presented in the form of a 3D map, the catalogue contains precise coordinates and brightness-levels of approximately 1.142 billion stars.

Though that number is in itself staggering, the collection photographed by Gaia only incorporates images from the earliest stages of the mission, when the Gaia satellite was launched in July of 2014 until September of 2015. Over the past year, the satellite has continued to photograph and track the stars in the Milky Way. This means that, as the ESA puts it, its tremendous 3D galaxy map is merely "a taster of the richer catalogue to come in the near future."